Scarlets still in the hunt for reinforcements - Simon Easterby
SIMON Easterby insists the Scarlets are looking to do some late business in the transfer market — with wing an area they remain keen to strengthen after the departures of George North and Andy Fenby.
The West Walians' head coach, whose side lost 23-15 in Saturday's friendly against Exeter Chiefs, accepts he is scouring a limited pool of available players, barely a fortnight out from the start of the season.
He praised the efforts of Jordan Williams and Kristian Phillips, the wings who started against Exeter, but said the Scarlets were hoping to add to their options out wide.
"That's a position we'd like to fill," he said.
"And, to be fair, we are still looking in other positions.
"It's just that the majority of players are signed up by now. The Currie Cup and the NPC (National Provincial Championship in New Zealand) are on at the moment — those are things we are looking closely at.
"But we are late in terms of bringing players in. It's late in the day. The pool of players and eligible players reduces somewhat by the time you get to August."
The Scarlets were thought to be in the market for a ball-carrying No. 8 to take them over the gain-line as Ben Morgan did so successfully before his move to Gloucester.
They had been linked with veteran former All Black Rodney So'oialo, but now they appear to have called off their search for a recruit to follow in the footsteps of Morgan, David Lyons and Scott Quinnell.
Asked to comment on the speculation about the Scarlets strengthening at No. 8 this summer, Easterby said: "That won't happen."
Pressed on who he considered his first choice option in the middle of the back row, he replied: "I'll tell you when I pick the first team."
Easterby would have gleaned only so much from his side's first hit-out of the summer, with dismal conditions making handling difficult and restricting both sides.
Nonetheless, Jordan Williams, Gareth Davies, Rob Evans and Steven Shingler were among home players who gave decent accounts of themselves.
Williams, one of the stand-out performers for Wales Under-20s at the Junior World Championship, scored a try from the left wing.
"He was good," said Easterby.
"What we have to do this year is be interchangeable in that back three — make sure we have good kickers in there, guys who can play 15 or wing.
"That's where we are lucky in that respect. We can mix it around a bit in that back three. Jordan, Gareth Owen and Kristian dealt quite well with that in the first half."
Easterby confirmed that the Scarlets expect to name their captain for the season this week.