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Patience and a killer instinct

Guinness PRO12 Editor

24 Sep 2010

Rhys Priestland says the Scarlets must show a killer instinct and be content to curb their enthusiasm if they are to build on the fine form of the past two weeks.

The Scarlets travel to Rodney Parade this weekend for a derby clash with the Dragons having picked up two bonus-point wins in a row over Connacht and Aironi.

Nigel Davies’ men have scored 10 tries in their two home games to date this term, producing an exciting blend of rugby that has everyone at the region buzzing.

But Priestland has warned his team-mates they will have to take even more of the chances they are creating, while at the same time remembering to be patient when it comes to building the platform needed to beat the best teams in the Magners League.

“In the first two games of the season we were probably guilty of trying to play a bit too much rugby. Little errors were stopping our momentum but we cut down on those last week,” said Priestland.

“The boys are really keen to play a lot of rugby and offload all the time but there’s a time and a place for it.

“Our decision making’s got to be a bit better when we’re in and around contact, deciding whether to offload or to just hold on to it and set up for the next phase because we’ve looked back at the video and seen that, when we do hold on to the ball for a few phases, we do create opportunities.

“We’ve got to be a bit sharper taking those chances as well. We’ve been a bit guilty of bombing a few tries this year.

“Against teams like the Ospreys, Munster and the Blues, you’re only going to get a handful of chances. We learnt last year that you have to take them.

“It’s always encouraging creating chances but we created a lot of chances last season, even against Leinster here at home in the Heineken Cup. We created chances but we messed them up and then we saw Leinster have maybe four chances and score four tries. We learnt a lot of lessons last year.”


Rhys Priestland on the attack aganist Benetton Treviso

Those lessons are already being implemented in training, with Priestland explaining that there is a greater intensity within sessions this season.

New coaches Robin McBryde, Simon Easterby and Mark Jones have added to the sense of urgency at the Scarlets, with the trio determined to help Davies bring the kind of success they achieved as players back to the region.

Throw in an increasing pool of talent and a greater competition for places and Priestland is confident that winning can become a habit rather than the rarity it was last season.

“It’s all about improving your standards in training, not being complacent and just going through the motions so that, when you do make a line break, you finish it off. Hopefully, that’ll reap benefits as we move on through the season,” added Priestland.

“With more competition for places, people aren’t going to be complacent so we’ve seen the standard of training improve. Robin McBryde’s come in now and if you drop balls in training, you’ve got to do extra work at the end of training. That creates pressure and makes it more game specific.

“All three of them (McBryde, Easterby and Jones) have been lifelong Scarlets players and they’ve got a lot of pride in the badge. They’ve always told us where the club should be and they won’t accept mediocrity this year.

“If boys are putting pressure on each other in training, then you don’t have to accept mediocrity because the person who’s got the shirt knows that there’s somebody behind him who wants his position.

“We believe that, with the players we’ve got, when we do play to our potential, we can cause even the best teams problems. We’ve just been a bit inconsistent.

“Hopefully we can get back to where those boys were when they played for the Scarlets.”