Guinness PRO12: Wayne Pivac pleased with clinical Scarlets
Head coach sees Welsh region come from behind to defeat reigning champions Leinster to boost their top-six hopes
Wayne Pivac hailed the Scarlets’ Guinness PRO12 win over Leinster as one of their better performances this season.
The Scarlets head coach saw his side go in at the break 10-8 behind to the reigning PRO12 champions, but a strong second-half performance helped them to a surprise 23-13 win at Parc y Scarlets.
The pleasing thing for us was to fall behind, get back in front, build the lead and then hold on to it this week.
Scarlets boss Wayne Pivac on Leinster win
While the Scarlets have struggled on the road this season, their latest win in Llanelli maintains a unbeaten home record, where tries are easier to come by.
That was backed up by their three scores against Leinster with Scotland flanker John Barclay getting one in the first half, and Rory Pitman and Jordan Williams crossing in the second half.
“That was obviously one of our better performances for a number of reasons,” Pivac said.
“Leinster gave us a hiding in round two.
We wanted to make sure we put in a good solid performance – they’re a good side.
“The pleasing thing for us was to fall behind, get back in front, build the lead and then hold on to it this week.
“We were a lot more clinical in finishing the game off; that was pleasing.
“We’d singled this game out as being crunch time for us in the season.
“We focused on what we could control, and that was our performance.”
Despite the win, the Scarlets remain in seventh place PRO12 table, but made up ground on Irish province Connacht, who fell to a controversial late defeat at Cardiff Blues on Friday night.
If you look at the two run-ins, I think we’d prefer to have ours than [Connacht’s].
Scarlets boss Wayne Pivac on PRO12 run-in
Edinburgh Rugby, who occupy eighth place, also closed the gap to Connacht following their bonus-point 29-8 win at Benetton Treviso on Saturday evening.
Positions six to eight are separated by just four points with five rounds of the regular season remaining.
While Connacht and Edinburgh each have three of their remaining matches on home soil, the Scarlets face difficult away trips to Zebre and Treviso, while they take on Newport Gwent Dragons at the Millennium Stadium, as part of Judgement Day III.
But Pivac insists that he prefers the Scarlets’ run-in to Connacht’s, with the Galway-based side set to face the four clubs currently occupying the play-off places in Munster, Ulster, Glasgow Warriors and Ospreys.
“It was always going to be a big weekend, we were hoping that Blues could do us a favour and they did that right at the death,” he added.
“We had to back that up with a performance.
“They gave us an opening and it was pleasing to get the result today and that closes it right up.
“If you look at the two run-ins – I think we’d prefer to have ours than theirs.
“It’s going to be exciting for the last few weeks.”
Scarlets last five games:
Edinburgh Rugby (home)
Newport Gwent Dragons (Millennium Stadium)
Cardiff Blues (home)
Benetton Treviso (away)
Connacht last five games:
Glasgow Warriors (home)
Edinburgh last five games:
Newport Gwent Dragons (away)