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'All bets are off' - Simon Easterby determined to get one over Leinster and brother Guy

The Scarlets coach insists there is no ‘gentleman’s agreement’ over the must-win fixture for the Blues.

Simon Easterby and Joe Schmidt chat before an October encounter.
Simon Easterby and Joe Schmidt chat before an October encounter.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

SIMON EASTERBY WAS exposed early in the week as a non-present-giver over Christmas.

The fact that the revelation came from his older brother Simon, who happens to be Leinster’s team manager, made it all the more galling. However, the Scarlets coach hit back.

“Did I get a present from him?” he asked TheScore.ie in a high-pitched voice, “What do you think?”

Easterby, a former flanker of international distinction with Ireland, concedes that Leinster have ‘genuine quality’ coming back into their side but he insists his Welsh side will not be rolling over at the RDS.

“It’s 1-1 in games this season so I could do with getting another one over them and him [Guy].

“There has been no gentleman’s agreement. I can assure you of that.”

Backs against the wall

The Scarlets backline is down to its bare bones following the serious-looking neck injury to star winger George North last weekend against Ulster.

Easterby commented, “George picked up a nasty blow to the back of the neck. I don’t think the injury was as bad as it looked but, with any player that gets a knock to the head or neck, it is best to go down the precautionary route.

“His spine and neck was protected, though, and he went for all the relevant checks and scans. There is still a fair bit of severe bruising.”

With North out and centre Jonathan Davis fit enough only for a spot on the bench, Scarlets are missing four players that would usually be expected to start in a full-strength backline.”

‘We’re desperate’

Scarlets were pretty much out of Heineken Cup contention the moment Isa Nacewa touched down after snatching a crossfield kick from the stationary North at Parc Y Scarlets.

Further defeats followed against Exeter to leave the Llanelli outfit winless but Easterby is hoping to snatch a win and derail Leinster’s cup dreams in return.

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He said, “We’re going over there to get the win. We’re just as desperate as Leinster to come out on top.”

Joe Schmidt’s side have found themselves in the European mire following two December losses to the impressive Clermont Auvergne. Easterby said:

They kept Clermont closer than anyone else so far this season. Clermont learned a lot from their game against Leinster last year and, ultimately, most games are decent on small events. On another day, Leinster could have won.

“They were missing a few frontline players and Clermont were pretty much full-strength.

“The pressure was also off after they won their home game and that pressure turned on Leinster.”

In fairness, the pressure hasn’t lifted off Leinster ever since their second consecutive season in defence of the Heineken Cup began but they would give anything to prolong the burden, and hope, for at least another week.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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