Champions Cup: Scarlets boss refuses to hide behind excuses

·3-min read

Scarlets boss Dwayne Peel believes that there are no excuses to protect his side’s poor performance in a massive 45-10 loss away to Bordeaux in France.

The French team scored seven tries, including a hat-trick from Louis Bielle-Biarrey, which powered them to a bonus-point victory.

No excuse

Despite the Scarlets having only played two games in the last three months due a pandemic-enforced break, Peel refused to hide behind that.

“We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and get better,” he said. “We were not good enough. We are disappointed.

“The reality is we did not respect the ball and turned over the ball too cheaply and put us under pressure. For large periods we held them up for as long as we could and offensively, especially for five minutes, we put some good sets together, but unfortunately we let it slip under pressure.

“If we can’t keep hold of the ball you put yourself under that sustained pressure.”

There was late disruption with Scotland flanker Blade Thomson and Wales prop WillGriff John ruled out, replaced by Morgan Jones and Samson Lee.

Bordeaux were also forced into late changes by three positive Covid tests, with half-backs Francois Trinh-Duc and Maxime Lucu dropping out of the original selection. Santiago Cordero, who usually plays on the wing, had to slot in at number nine, due to Bordeaux not having any fit scrum-halves.

The home side dominated from the first minute to the last but took 21 minutes to score their first try with Cameron Woki touching down after some lovely interplay between backs and forwards.

Cordero then set up 18-year-old full-back Bielle-Biarrey for a try in only his second match.

Scarlets full-back Liam Williams was then sent to the sin bin for cynically killing the ball at the breakdown, and Geoffrey Cros took advantage for the hosts by crossing at the corner.

Bielle-Biarrey scored his second just after half-time before Williams claimed a try back for the visitors after a neat cross-kick from Rhys Patchell.

Scarlets were unable to repeat the trick when Cordero latched on to a loose kick and set up a try for replacement hooker Maxime Lamothe.

Scrum-half Gareth Davies responded for Scarlets with a trademark interception try before replacement Nans Ducuing dived over for Bordeaux’s sixth score and Bielle-Biarrey completed his hat-trick.

“We had two late changes, but we prepared for all situations, and you have to adapt to that,” said Peel.

“Morgan coming in did well and having a guy like Samson to come in and I thought Harri did well as well when he came on. The lack of rugby played a part, but the reality is the way we are not going to dwell on it.

“We are at home next week against Bristol, and it’s an important game for us because we want to progress in Europe. We will wait and see where we are come Tuesday when we meet up back home.”

Leo Cullen delighted after Leinster’s dominant win over Montpellier

Leinster boss Leo Cullen praised the attitude of his players after a frustrating period for the province ended in a comfortable 89-7 European victory over Montpellier.

The Irish side haven’t played for several weeks, with their last match coming against Bath on December 11 in the Champions Cup.

They were forced to forfeit the reverse fixture against the French outfit – still a bone of contention for Leinster – but they took out their anger on a weakened Montpellier team on Sunday.

“We know we’re sort of chasing the pool to a certain degree, so every point is so important for us now,” Cullen said.

“We talked about the fact that we can’t afford any slip-ups going into the game and trying to maximise every single point from the game. I thought our guys did a pretty good job overall.”

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