Confident Quins look to build on early promise
CARMARTHEN Quins rugby manager Steffan Thomas insists his side travel to Bridgend for their opening Welsh Premiership match of the season tomorrow (2.30) buoyed by their performance in a British & Irish Cup qualifier.
Quins will not be playing in cross-border competition this term after losing a preliminary match to Llanelli.
They were defeated by a single point against a side that featured a host of regional players.
But Carmarthen's performance in that match has given Thomas confidence ahead of the visit to the Brewery Field.
"We didn't get the result, but we took an awful lot out of it," he said. "We had three full-timers in our line up, while they had 11.
"We had 67 per cent possession and in the end were unlucky to lose."
The Quins have made a host of squad additions over the summer and Bridgend are also likely to field a new-look side.
Howard Thomas starts at full-back, while another arrival from Aberavon, fly-half Craig Evans, is named among the replacements.
Centre Rhys Williams has joined from French side Nevers and Ellis Phillips from Llangennech.
Those signings supplement the arrivals of wing Lee Williams from the Scarlets, centre Iolo Evans (RGC), hooker Rhodri Clancy (Neath), second row Jon Gardiner (Connacht), flanker Will Boyde (Carmarthen Athletic Youth), and fly-half James Stephenson (Narberth).
Carmarthen will also have a clutch of new Scarlets academy players available to them and others promoted from the youth team.
"It's very difficult to predict anything at this stage," said Thomas.
"A lot of sides have been overhauled because people are very conscious of relegation.
"But after that performance against Llanelli we'll be looking to improve on what we did last year.
"At this stage of the season it's very much a case of focusing on yourself.
"Teams have so many triallists and regional players involved that you don't know what their best side is.
"We just have to make sure that we are strong."
Carmarthen Quins: H. Evans; I. Evans, D. Morgan, R. Williams, J. Harries; A. Thomas, R. Wells; G. Thomas, R. Gest, I. Jones (capt), Carwyn Jones, H. Pugh, S. Bennett, R. Gallagher, J. Davies. Reps: G. Robinson, R. Elias, T. Davies, A. Laxton, E. Lloyd, C. Evans, L. Williams, E. Phillips.