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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 14 December, 2018

'If I had £20 spare I’d definitely put it on Scarlets beating Leinster and winning the whole thing'

Confident Welshmen are dangerous Welshmen and Leinster will face plenty of them in the Champions Cup semi-final.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SCOTT WILLIAMS HAS warned Leinster that Scarlets are fully backing themselves to end their Champions Cup dreams.

The reigning Pro12 champions have been all but ruled out by the bookmakers ahead of their trip to the Aviva Stadium, despite the Scarlets beating Leinster with just 14 men in last season’s crunch clash at the RDS.

Centre Williams admits that being written off as 7/2, 11-point underdogs has stoked the Scarlets’ fires as they aim to become the first Welsh region to be crowned champions of Europe.

“Yes, it has annoyed us,” said the 27-year-old.

“It was the same last year when nobody expected us to win, but we knew we could do it.

“The bookies have ruled us out completely. We can’t gamble ourselves as players, but I think we are 5/1 to beat Leinster and 9/1 to win the whole competition.

If I had £20 spare I’d definitely put it on us beating Leinster and winning the whole thing.”

Williams will leave the Scarlets at the end of the season to switch to Welsh rivals Ospreys.  But with his current employers still on course for both European and Guinness Pro14 glory, the international is determined to end his time in Llanelli with a historic double.

Williams acknowledges the quality within Leinster’s ranks, but says: “We want to win both competitions and we can do that. We’ve fronted up in the big games over the last few seasons and we now really thrive on those challenges.

Arthur Retiere and Scott Williams Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“There is no damage limitation involved with us, we are going out there to win and we are confident we can do that.

“It’s not going to be easy, but if we play the way we know we can, as we did against Bath for example, then we can beat Leinster.”

Three-time European champions Leinster are in fine form and will host the Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium, where Scarlets won last season’s Pro12 title with victory over Munster.

“The Aviva is not exactly a neutral venue, it’s basically Leinster’s home ground. But we went to their home patch in the semi-final last year and won. They’ve got some outstanding players and more importantly, players who are playing well.

“Johnny Sexton is their go-to guy and he seems to control the way they are trying to play. Hopefully he has an off-day against us.

Craig Doyle and Jonathan Davies interview Scott Williams Scott Williams with his son Seb getting interview by Jonathan Davies and Craig Doyle after the win over La Rochelle. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It’s about making sure we execute the way we want to play, but you never know whether it might be raining so we may have to revert to a tighter game. It’s about being smart and making the right call at the time, but we will be focusing on ourselves more than anything.”

Munster and Racing 92 complete the Champions Cup’s last four and given the European pedigree of the Irish provinces, many are expecting an all-Ireland final between Munster and Leinster. But there is real confidence at Parc y Scarlets that on the back of stunning European triumphs over Bath, Toulon and La Rochelle this season, Wayne Pivac’s side can upset the odds once again.

When asked whether there will be an all-Ireland final, Williams gave a simple response:


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