Easterby bemoans second-half Scarlets “meltdown”
SCARLETS head coach Simon Easterby was left to reflect on a second-half "meltdown" as last year's semi-finalists crashed to a 42-19 home defeat to Leinster on the opening weekend of the RaboDirect Pro12 season.
The Llanelli-based region led 13-0 early in the first half, but conceded four tries after the break to slump to a miserable defeat.
"We felt we produced some really good rugby in the first half and were in control, but we conceded an early try in that second half and just lost our composure and never got control back," said Easterby.
"We coughed up a lot of ball, there were 23 turnovers and a lot of the stuff was our own error. Ultimately, when you give away that much possession it is going to be difficult to build your game.
"In the first half our scrum was good, we had good possession and field position and the scoreboard was ticking over.
"We did all we had talked about, but after half-time, after conceding that early try we had a bit of meltdown; we started chasing things, the more we chased things the more we tried to force things and the ball was more often than not lost."
Fly-half Jimmy Goppeth, a summer arrival from Newcastle Falcons, was the shining light for the defending champions, picking up a personal haul of 22 points, which included one of his side's five tries.
New Leinster coach Matt O'Connor said: "Jimmy is a great pro and managed the game really well. He had some really nice touches aside from his goal-kicking which was outstanding.
"We were struggling at 13-0 down and I thought the boys did superbly to dig themselves out of a big hole.
"The Scarlets came out of the blocks really hard, but full credit to the guys, the fightback was outstanding."