Wayne Pivac: Scarlets’ PRO12 play-offs dream still alive after Warriors win
Scarlets head coach pleased with hard-fought win over last season's beaten finalists as unbeaten home run continues
Wayne Pivac believes the Scarlets dream of making the Guinness PRO12 play-offs is still alive after their 19-9 win over Glasgow Warriors.
Friday night’s hard-fought encounter with the heavily-depleted Scottish side saw the West Walians keep within touching distance of the top four, with the Warriors currently occupying fourth place, five points ahead of the Scarlets.
We’ve kept that dream of being in the mix at the end of the season alive
On another very wet night in Llanelli in front of a sparse crowd, which looked nowhere near the recorded 6,038, 14 points from the boot of Steven Shingler and a late Rory Pitman try were enough for another ground out victory as the Scarlets continued their unbeaten run in the league in 2014.
“All in all, happy to get the four [points] and not concede a bonus point to Glasgow was important as well from our point of view,” Pivac said.
“You’ve got to realise that they were heavily depleted in personnel, and we had a few out as well, but certainly playing at home we put pressure on ourselves during the week.
“It was a game we said we had to win and, to stay in contention in the top four, we needed to do that.
“We’ve kept that dream of being in the mix at the end of the season alive. If we hadn’t have got a victory, we would have been up against it.
“It was really a continuation of the second half against Zebre that we were after. I thought we stuck to the patterns that we wanted to at the right ends of the field, and we got the job done in the end.
“We probably blew a couple of scoring opportunities, which put a bit more pressure on ourselves.”
The New Zealander also praised the performance of Wales outside-half Rhys Priestland, who had to be drafted into the starting XV at short notice as the Scarlets opted not to risk the hamstring of centre Regan King.
“We pulled out Regan King about an hour and a half before the game,” Pivac added. “Then there was an accident on the M4. Rhys got here, basically threw his gear on and jumped in the warm-up.
“It was a two-and-a-half hour trip for him sitting in the car. He felt a knee early on, played through that, and I thought he played very well.
“Getting the call an hour and a half before, panicking about was he was going to get to the game on time, so to play like that I thought was a good effort.
“He’s coped really well. He’s come back positive. He knew he hadn’t played as well as he would have liked in the [Wales] game against Fiji, so he wanted to get out there, get some game time, perform well, and I thought he did that.
“Rhys playing for us he does a good job. He’s got a big kicking game, gets our backline under way and, when he’s in a run of form, he’s as good as anyone around, so we’re pleased to have him.”
Pivac also expects the Scarlets to lose Priestland and hooker Emyr Phillips to Wales for Saturday’s clash with Connacht in Galway, while flanker John Barclay will be monitored after being taken off in the first half against his former club with a head knock.
“We’ll monitor him through the week,” Pivac said. “He’s got an extra day with it being Friday through to Saturday.
“When he came off the field, he actually passed the [Head Injury Assessment], but they had a look and saw he might have had a little sleep on the way down to the ground, so he was never going back on.”