We've got the belief now, says Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland
FLY-HALF Rhys Priestland believes the Scarlets have developed a mental strength that will stand them in good stead for arguably the toughest away challenge in European rugby.
The West Walians take on Clermont Auvergne at their Stade Marcel Michelin citadel on Saturday afternoon with bookies making the region rank outsiders to open their Heineken Cup campaign with a shock victory.
Clermont, boasting a galaxy of international stars, haven't been beaten at their home ground in 47 matches and have started their French Top14 league campaign strongly.
However, the Scarlets aren't without hope and wins at Northampton and Castres in the competition last season have shown they can upset the odds on their travels.
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"I think we have made strides mentally. In the past we used to beat the Welsh regions then lose at places like Glasgow and Connacht. Now we are going away from home and fronting up," said Priestland.
"Yes, the intensity is going to get higher this weekend, but I think we are mentally stronger now to deal with that.
"We are under no illusions. If a team is going to beat Clermont at home it is going to take something special. It is one of, if not the toughest, games in the Heineken Cup.
"But we are an ambitious squad and hopefully we can come away with something this weekend.
"We have got to go out there and back ourselves as a team and take the game to them."
Priestland will be a key figure for the Scarlets during this European