Relish the challenge, Simon Easterby tells Scarlets
SCARLETS head coach Simon Easterby has told his players to relish the challenge they will face in fortress Clermont tomorrow (3.40pm).
The West Walians will face arguably the toughest test the Heineken Cup can throw at you when they run out at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
But Easterby believes his men have to view the Pool 5 opener as an opportunity rather than an ordeal.
"You can't hide from the fact they are unbeaten in 47 matches at home. It is a challenge, but some of those challenges bring out the best in players," said Easterby.
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"We do respect Clermont, but I want the players to go there and give them something to think about and not sit back and defend.
"You have got to go there with a positive attitude. You have got to get a lot of things right and we are fully aware that certain things in our game have got to be nigh on perfect, but if we can do that we have got enough quality to create and take opportunities.
"We have won in France more than most, we haven't played Clermont for a while, but we are in a good place to go there and open up our campaign with a good performance, and the result then will be down to small margins."
Most pundits see Pool 5 as a two-way shoot-out between Clermont and defending champions Leinster, who host English debutants Exeter in Dublin tomorrow.
However, Easterby, a three-times semi-finalist as a player, believes the Scarlets are capable of again upsetting the odds — they are an unfancied 20-1 to win the pool.
"Clermont were semi-finalists last year and Leinster won it so there is an obvious perception that we won't be one of the favourites in the group," he added.
"But it is a group that could open up and any one of the sides could beat each other on the day.
"Yes, Leinster and Clermont will be favourites and rightly so, but that is all from last year. It is all about here and the now and the form book and the perception of favourites can change very quickly."