scarlets enjoying euro adventures
LIAM Williams believes the Scarlets can take a huge amount of confidence from their opening two Heineken Cup performances.
The West Wales region had to settle for a thrilling 26-26 draw against French heavyweights Racing Metro at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday, but it was enough to keep them top of the pool.
Billed as rank outsiders before the tournament began, the Scarlets have made a real statement with their away win over Harlequins and Saturday's draw against a star-studded Racing side.
And while the home camp were disappointed at seeing a 23-10 lead slip in the second half against the Parisians, Williams insists they can take heart from another encouraging all-round display.
"We are a little bit disappointed with the draw, but to take so many points from these first two games, we can take a lot from that," said Williams, the Heineken man of the match.
"Six points from two matches is not a bad position to be in, but obviously we have Clermont back to back next and that is going to be really tough."
There were similar sentiments from head coach Simon Easterby in the wake of a dramatic contest which saw Racing denied a try in the dying seconds.
"Up until the 79th minute we were disappointed, but we played into their hands and were probably lucky not to come away with a loss," he said.
"But there were lots of positives in our game. The way we went after them when they had two men in the bin was good, our intent to play was excellent and our defence was great — they did not have many other options other than going to the air.
"We will look back and think this is a chance missed, but having gone to Quins and got a result last week, six points out of ten is not a bad start."
Warren Gatland reveals his Wales squad for this autumn's four-Test series tomorrow and Easterby backed a number of his players to be named by the New Zealander.
"Hopefully, the Welsh boys, who have all staked their claim over the last couple of weeks, will go away and come back in one piece," he added.
The Scarlets' next European assignment is against one of the tournament favourites Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel Michelin, the week after Wales take on Australia in Cardiff.
Easterby's side return to Pro12 action this week with a visit to Italian side Zebre on Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Scarlets have confirmed the signing of Romanian international prop Horatiu Pungea and former Dragons wing Mike Poole.
"Horatiu is a big player and comes to us in great shape," said Easterby.
"He has been an impressive player at international level. He will add depth to our squad in a key position but will also further the development of our younger props Samson Lee and Rhodri Jones."