Scarlets coach Simon Easterby: Zebre showing 'unacceptable'
SCARLETS head coach Simon Easterby has described his side's dismal performance against Zebre as "unacceptable" after the West Wales region needed a last-gasp penalty from Rhys Priestland to escape with a 16-16 draw.
The Italian franchise have yet to win at home since their formation at the start of last season.
But they came agonisingly close to ending that record against a woefully off-colour Scarlets side.
On the back of his side's impressive Heineken Cup exploits against Harlequins and Racing Metro, it was a frustrating night for Easterby who watched his side make countless errors and play off the back foot for most of the match.
And afterwards the former Ireland international pulled no punches in his assessment.
"It was definitely a case of two points lost rather than two points gained," said Easterby.
"That's not to disrespect Zebre, it's just that in the last couple of weeks our performances against top-class opposition have been top-drawer, and it was far from that tonight.
"It's not acceptable to get ourselves up for certain games and then come to places like Zebre and not put a performance in.
"Ultimately we were fortunate that Rhys kicked two very good goals at the end to draw the game which, on the face of it, we didn't deserve."
Priestland's final kick, from 40 metres out, came as Zebre were penalised for holding onto the ball as they tried to run down the clock in the final minute.
Up until then, they had looked set to add the Scarlets scalp to that of the Blues, which they claimed at the Arms Park last month.
"Rhys showed a lot of guts to knock that one over," said Easterby. "But there weren't many other positives.
"We'll have to have a look at the way we prepared for the game, because our error count was simply too high.
"We lost five out of 20 line-outs, we turned the ball over at will and we were sloppy without the ball as well.
"You just can't accept that. It doesn't matter who you're playing against."
The draw means the Scarlets move up one place above the Blues to seventh in the RaboDirect Pro12 table ahead of Saturday's clash with fourth-placed Ulster in Llanelli.
"We'll be back in work on Monday working towards a massive game against Ulster," added Easterby.
"We'll lose eight or so players to international call-ups and the other boys will need to keep it together.
"We'll be tough on them in training this week to ensure that we secure a level of consistency."