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Dublin: 4°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

Scarlets v Leinster: Guy focused ahead of Easterby family reunion

The Heineken Cup opening weekend brought mixed emotions for Guy and Simon Easterby, who meet in Parc y Scarlets for round two on Saturday afternoon.

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

AFTER WATCHING THE Scarlets take an unmerciful beating in France last weekend, Guy Easterby thought twice about picking up the phone and calling their head coach for a chat.

The Leinster manager knows exactly what his younger brother Simon is like; he wouldn’t want to talk.

The Easterbys meet in Parc y Scarlets this Saturday looking to move on from an opening weekend of mixed emotions in the Heineken Cup. While Guy watched the European champions scrape through a seemingly straightforward home tie against Exeter, Simon and the Scarlets came home from Clermont-Ferrand on the wrong end of a 49-16 scoreline.

It was a grim afternoon for the Welsh side, who were forced to play most of the game with 14 men following a red card for international wing Morgan Stoddart which came when the match was still finely poised in the first half.

“I  actually haven’t been talking to him yet,” Guy said this week. “Once I saw Stoddart get a red card , I thought I’d leave it for two or three days. I’m not sure if he’d take my calls anyway.

I thought I’d let him calm down but I’ll certainly speak to him before the weekend anyway.

He added: “Obviously it’s tough enough going to Clermont. Playing without a man for almost a half is making your job almost impossible. I’m sure they’ll be disappointed with the final result but you’ve got to put it into perspective that they were without a man for over a half.”

Held to a three-point win by the Chiefs last weekend, Leinster were disappointed not to open their drive for a third successive European title with a bonus point against the tournament newcomers and Easterby knows there’s room for improvement.

“I think there’s a balance there. Winning the game is the all important thing. We came away with four points from our first Heineken game, but we obviously understand we’re going to have to improve our level of performance if we want to keep moving forward.

“I think the things that were spoken about immediately after the game in terms of being more accurate and more patient, and making sure that if we make visits to the opposition 22 we come away with something rather than throwing an offload or a 50-50 ball, and making sure we grind out the scores [are important].”

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