Scarlets coach Simon Easterby: Let's finish off with a flourish
SIMON Easterby has called on his Scarlets side for one final push to try to salvage a morale-boosting victory from their Heineken Cup campaign.
The West Wales region go into the last round of pool fixtures still searching for their first win in this season's tournament and propping up Pool 5 with just two losing bonus points to their name.
After suffering a 33-14 defeat at the hands of defending champions Leinster in Dublin on Saturday, the Scarlets must dust themselves down in readiness for the arrival of tournament favourites Clermont Auvergne this weekend.
The French side have already qualified for the last eight, but will be hungry for victory in Llanelli to cement their position as one of the top seeds in the knockout stages and more importantly a home tie at fortress Stade Marcel Michelin.
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Easterby again has injury concerns for the match with Wales internationals Scott and Liam Williams picking up knocks in a gutsy defensive effort at the RDS Showground. But he has vowed that his side will not bow out of the tournament with a whimper.
"We can't qualify, that is plain and simple, but we can, if we get things right, upset the odds by beating Clermont," said a defiant Easterby.
"This is a great tournament, we have great supporters who travelled to Dublin and we want to show more than what we have shown in this competition this season.
"We have a limited squad. We only had 11 fit backs to choose from for last weekend's game and we have picked up another couple of bumps again.
"It doesn't get any easier with Clermont coming next week.
"But the boys will be keen to regroup and give it one last shot to get something out of this Heineken season."
The Scarlets have now lost six out of their last seven matches in all competitions and have conceded 13 tries and 112 points in their last three games.
Europe gives way to two rounds of the Anglo-Welsh LV= Cup after this weekend before the Scarlets focus their attention on revitalising their RaboDirect Pro12 play-off push.
"A win against Clermont would be massive for momentum because we have lost our momentum after a good start to the season," added Easterby.
"When we played them away (in October) we were right in the game up until half-time before having a player sent off.
"We have to show the same accuracy and decision-making which we had in that first half in Clermont."
Easterby's words were echoed by skipper Rob McCusker.
"We owe each other and our fans a good performance at home," he said.
"Our supporters have not had much to cheer about in the last few weeks so we want give them something to get excited about and end the competition on a high.
"We are looking for that confidence boost and to beat a side like Clermont at home would be huge moving towards the league, which is our main aim now."