Guinness PRO12: Scarlets still in mix for the top six, says Pivac
Scarlets boss not giving up hope on Champions Cup rugby with further twists and turns expected in the final four rounds
Wayne Pivac insists the Scarlets are still in the hunt for the coveted sixth-place finish in the Guinness PRO12 despite their 26-15 defeat to Edinburgh Rugby.
The Scarlets head coach saw his side fail to score a single point in the second half of the contest on Saturday afternoon, which ended his team’s 15-month home unbeaten record in the league.
We need to learn from this and understand that if you show a lack of respect to the opposition they’re going to bite you.
Wayne Pivac on bouncing back from defeat
The Welsh region’s effort wasn’t helped by injuries and ill-discipline, with the latter leading to influential back-row forward John Barclay sin-binned in the first half and replacement scrum-half Gareth Davies red carded for a headbutt in the second.
But Pivac is confident that the Scarlets are still in the hunt if they can learn the lessons from their disappointing home defeat.
“I think there are going to be a few more twists and turns,” Pivac told the Scarlets official website.
“We need to learn from this and understand that if you show a lack of respect to the opposition they’re going to bite you.
“We’re definitely still in the mix. Today wasn’t the end of the road.”
First-half tries from Phil Burleigh and David Denton, and 16 points from the boot of rising scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (pictured above) gave the visitors a commanding win, with all 15 of the Scarlets’ points coming from the boot of out-half Steve Shingler.
We just didn’t fire, didn’t look after the ball, and were out-passioned on our own piece of dirt – there’s no excuse for that.
Wayne Pivac on what went wrong against Edinburgh
The defeat leaves the Scarlets in eighth place, three points behind sixth-place Connacht and Edinburgh, with four rounds remaining, and their hopes of securing another season of European Champions Cup rugby on a knife edge.
Straight talking Pivac concedes there should be no excuses for the lack of passion at the Parc y Scarlets on a day when very little went the West Walians’ way, but openside flanker James Davies was again one of their standout players.
“It started from the first play when we dropped the possession, that set the tone for the day,” Pivac added.
“It’s very disappointing obviously; certainly we’ve played very, very, well at home for the entire season – to limp of the field with a display like that was disappointing for sure.
“We just didn’t fire, didn’t look after the ball, and were out-passioned on our own piece of dirt – there’s no excuse for that.”
With three of their final four matches away from home, the Scarlets have a thankless task if they are to overhaul their rivals to finish sixth.
We need to play how we’ve played for the previous four or five matches. We can’t have a repeat of today’s performance or that opportunity will slip away pretty quickly.
Wayne Pivac on the Scarlets’ last four matches
Winless on the road all season, Pivac will hope the Scarlets can get something out of their trip to Parma in the second week of April to take on Zebre, who are embroiled in a battle with rivals Benetton Treviso to secure Italy’s automatic place in the Champions Cup.
They then take on Newport Gwent Dragons in front of a bumper crowd at the Millennium Stadium for Judgement Day III before returning to Llanelli for their final home match of the season in the second weekend of May against Cardiff Blues, who have nothing but pride to play for.
Their final match sees another difficult away trip to take on Treviso at the Stadio Monigo, the same day Edinburgh host Leinster and Connacht host the Ospreys, and Pivac believes the top six race will go down to the wire.
“It’s going to come down to the last week; that’s the way it’s heading,” he said.
“Today was all about us hopefully getting a result and putting some space between ourselves and Edinburgh.
“It’ll be a big game in Zebre; they’re all big games.
“We need to play how we’ve played for the previous four or five matches.
“We can’t have a repeat of today’s performance or that opportunity will slip away pretty quickly.
“We’ll be doing what we’ve done for the last month really: work hard, prepare well, and make sure we apply ourselves over the 80 minutes.”