Frustrated Scarlets coach Simon Easterby admits: ‘This hurts’
SCARLETS head coach Simon Easterby admitted the derby defeat to the Ospreys was a "rude awakening" for his table-topping side.
Despite winning their first three matches of the season, the Llanelli region were overpowered as they lost 23-16 to their arch rivals at Parc y Scarlets.
It was the Scarlets' first reverse against Welsh opposition since 2010 and, although they remain at the summit of the Pro12 table, Easterby concedes his team were found wanting on Friday night.
"It was a bit of a rude awakening," he said. "We were second best to the Ospreys in a few areas.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"We're a bit frustrated with a few things but we weren't good enough and that's what you get. We'll have to take it on the chin.
"We've got to be more accurate, and these derby games are going to be physical so we've got to match it.
"The players are hurting and they'll be disappointed.
"It's one thing losing, but it's another when you haven't played as well as you know you can. That's the main frustration."
One facet of the game where the Ospreys were particularly dominant was the scrum.
The Scarlets conceded six penalties from scrums, and replacement prop Samson Lee was sent to the sin bin for a second-half infringement at the set-piece.
That yellow card was perhaps contentious — Lee had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes — but there was no denying the Scarlets suffered up front.
"We went down a man which didn't help, but early on we weren't getting it right in the scrum and they got the upper hand," said Easterby.
"A couple of those penalties were when we were down a man. I thought Samson's yellow was harsh — it seems he took that for a few penalties which went against Deacon in the first half.
"We're not quite sure how Samson could have been penalised for that having not been on for the first 40 minutes.
"Overall, we were second best in most areas. They put a lot of pressure on us and put some high balls on us, which we didn't deal with. Fair play to them, they came here and did a job on us.
"I don't think it was just up front, it was across the board we weren't as good as them."
Another point of controversy was the first-half incident which saw Andy Fenby fumble the ball on the Ospreys' try line.
With the scores tied at 6-6, the wing knocked on with a try seemingly inevitable — but his handling error appeared to be the result of a high tackle from George Stowers.
Television match official Derek Bevan awarded the Ospreys a scrum because of the knock-on, and Easterby reckons the Scarlets had reason to feel aggrieved.
"I think Andy was over the line and got a swinging arm in the chops," he said. "So I think it certainly had an effect on him grounding the ball.
"That's disappointing, but I don't think it's the referee's fault."