RaboDirect Pro12: Scarlets need four wins to secure sixth, says Turnbull
RaboDirect Pro12: Josh Turnbull reckons Scarlets need to win their final four games to seal a European place
Josh Turnbull believes Scarlets needs to win their final four matches to hold on to sixth place that would give his team-mates a place at Europe’s top table next season.
The Llanelli-based region secured a bonus-point 32-30 win against Connacht at Parc y Scarlets on Sunday to stretch the gap to the Irish province to nine points.
I want to help them [Scarlets] finish as high up the table as possible
But what should have been a comfortable win for the Welsh side at 25-11 with 20 minutes to go almost slipped from their grasp after a stunning late comeback from Pat Lam’s side.
“Whether we can make the play-offs if other results go our way that’s another question, but we have to aim for the sixth spot which is in our control,” Turnbull said.
“We have four games left, three of those are at home. Rob [McCusker] said a couple of weeks ago ‘it’s backs against the wall’ and nothing other than a win will do every week.
“That’s what we have to concentrate on; make sure that our house is in order and keep working hard.”
Captain Jonathan Davies gave the Scarlets the perfect start to finish off a superb running move in the opening two minutes and Turnbull ran in from half-way for the Scarlets’ third try in a stunning effort which started with full-back Liam Williams inside their five-metre line, but the 26-year-old admitted they were frustrated at how the game turned.
Connacht had shown glimpses in attack through back three Robbie Henshaw, Tiernan O’Halloran and Fionn Carr, but all three had failed to find a way through some resilient defending until the final quarter as the Irish side found their way through for four tries to take a try-scoring bonus point and losing bonus point back to Galway.
“We dug deep in the end,” Turnbull said. “It was a little frustrating defensively at times, but we were much better in attack than we have been for a while.
“We didn’t want to get into that Sevens kind of game. I know the weather was good but we wanted to keep things a little bit tighter and more structured before we let it go a little bit loose.
“We didn’t want to concede anything at the end, but we were probably all frustrated that we hadn’t got away from them as much as we should have.”
The flanker has already penned a deal to join struggling Cardiff Blues in the summer, but has reaffirmed his commitment to the West Walians as the RaboDirect Pro12 reaches its climax.
“I’m fully committed to the Scarlets until the end of the season,” he added. “It’s the club I respect and I’ve been here since I was 16.
“I want to help them finish as high up the table as possible. Next season is next season. It’s all about the Scarlets right now.”
Having failed to reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, Scarlets have a break this week before they return to Pro12 action next week against Zebre.