Glasgow Warriors 22 Scarlets 7: Wayne Pivac disappointed by first-half failures
Scarlets head coach left frustrated as Welsh region were blown away in another defeat on the road
Wayne Pivac was left disappointed as the Scarlets were comprehensively beaten 22-7 at Glasgow Warriors.
The Scarlets head coach saw his side fail to cope with blustery conditions, while inaccuracies and ill-discipline also proved costly, despite having the wind behind them in the first half at Scotstoun Stadium.
We gave away too many penalties and we were probably our own worst enemies. Turning around two points up was always going to be difficult to defend.
Wales full-back Liam Williams finished off a move against the run of play at the end of the first half with Rhys Priestland adding the conversion to cancel out Alex Dunbar’s earlier unconverted effort, to give the visitors a shock 7-5 lead.
But any hope of a first away win since February 2013 was blown away in the second half as the Warriors, inspired by Bath Rugby-bound Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu, made the most of territorial advantage to score tries through Peter Murchie and DTH van der Merwe, both converted by Scotland outside-half Finn Russell, who also added a penalty.
“We’re disappointed with the first half when we had that breeze behind us,” Pivac said.
“We didn’t use it well enough and played too much rugby in our own half. We gave away too many penalties and we were probably our own worst enemies.
“Turning around two points up was always going to be difficult to defend.”
“We were pretty industrious in the second half. It was really difficult in that breeze.
“We turned a few balls over and they did what we didn’t do in the first half, just settled down and put us under a lot of pressure.
“Then they pushed us hard and scored some good tries.
“We need to be more accurate in what we do. We play some good rugby and then we undo it with mistakes.
“I thought tonight there was a lot of will out there, but some of the tactics we didn’t quite get right so we were punished for that.”
Already contending with a lengthy injury list, Scarlets back-row forward Rob McCusker was forced to battle through a virus picked up the night before, lasting longer than the club had anticipated when he was replaced just before the hour mark.
We seem to have a long list of injuries with hookers, but hopefully Ryan will scrub up in time for next week.
But there was further damage to their already-depleted pack as lock Johan Snyman was forced off after 27 minutes with a shoulder injury, with flanker Aaron Shingler departing seven minutes from time.
Young hooker Ryan Elias, thrust into the starting XV after injuries to Ken Owens, Emyr Phillips and Kirby Myhill, went off with an ankle injury in the second half, but the big worry for the national team selectors will be the loss of full-back Williams, just weeks before the start of the Six Nations, also with a shoulder injury.
“Liam Williams, Johan Snyman and Aaron Shingler: all three have AC joint issues,” Pivac confirmed.
“How bad they are we won’t know for at least 48 hours, but all three are a bit sore at the moment, and Ryan Elias with an ankle.
“We seem to have a long list of injuries with hookers, but hopefully Ryan will scrub up in time for [the visit to Leicester Tigers in Europe] next week.”
Despite a difficult night at the set-piece, with the Scarlets’ usually-potent scrum regularly turned over, Pivac paid tribute to 20-year-old hooker Elias, making his first start for the club, and his 19-year-old replacement Torin Myhill, who made his debut.
The return of club captain Ken Owens can’t come soon enough for the West Walians, now down to their fourth and fifth hookers with limited experience of professional rugby, but the New Zealander believes the club do not need to consider a short-term loan signing to ease the crisis.
“We’ve got a very good development system down in the west and you’ll see that both Ryan and Torin Myhill are very good youngsters,” he said.
“Ryan started the game well, took a bit of a stinger to his shoulder, but boxed on.
“He fell off a couple of tackles as a result, but certainly threw himself about and I was pleased with his first start.
“Torin coming on, he had a couple of training runs with us during the week. The weather was pretty poor when we got here, so he didn’t do much throwing, but he went out there and did pretty well.
“We’ll take a look at Ken. He’s getting regular tests done and he’s passed all the tests, just one to go on his tricep, and the strength is slowly coming back.
“We don’t want to put him out until he’s good to go, but he’s certainly not far off.”
The defeat, coupled with Edinburgh’s 16-13 win over Connacht in Galway, means the Scottish club have moved up to seventh in the PRO12 table at the Scarlets’ expense as the race for European Champions Cup qualification hots up.