French defeat won't affect Scarlets plans
SCARLETS head coach Simon Easterby insists his side won’t head into tomorrow’s crunch Heineken Cup tie with European champions Leinster (1.35pm) still nursing the scars of Clermont.
Beaten 49-16 by the French side at the Stade Marcel Michelin, the Scarlets have had to call on all their powers of recovery this week — mentally and physically — before the arrival of the three-times champions.
Easterby acknowledges his side must win in Llanelli to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 2007.
But he believes the players will go into the game having salvaged plenty of positives from their opening Pool 5 setback.
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“When the players came back in on Monday the message focused on the positivity of that first 40 minutes against Clermont,” said Easterby.
“We had a game-plan and it was effective for that 40.
“We’ve got to take the positives from Clermont and understand we were well in the game, lost a man and then they capitalised on that numerical advantage.
“We know how tough it is going to be again, Leinster have set the standard in recent years, but bouncing back is not an issue.”
Easterby’s comments were echoed by hooker Matthew Rees.
“If you lose a home game in this competition that is pretty much it,” said the British Lion. “We know this game is a must-win.
“There will be no problem with the boys getting up for tomorrow.”
The Scarlets were set to name their starting XV today and have been boosted with the news that wing Morgan Stoddart will not receive any further sanction following his sending off against Clermont.
Stoddart was shown the second of two yellow cards on 37 minutes, but an independent judicial officer, after reviewing written submissions, has ruled that the sending off was sufficient punishment and the Wales international is clear to play against Leinster.
The two sides last met in the competition three years ago when Leinster completed back-to-back victories in Llanelli (32-7) and Dublin (39-7).
Leinster are also looking to extend their unbeaten run in the competition to a remarkable 17 matches.