Pivac calls on Scarlets to prove they are not 'one-season wonders' against Leinster

The defending champions arrive in Dublin desperate to exorcise the demons of their heavy Champions Cup semi-final defeat last month.

SCARLETS HEAD COACH Wayne Pivac has called on his side to prove they are not one-season wonders by exacting revenge for last month’s heavy Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Leinster when the teams meet in tomorrow’s Guinness Pro14 final.

The Welsh region were torn apart by Leinster at the Aviva Stadium a little over a month ago but after a painful post-mortem into a below-par performance, have used their frustration to fuel an impressive Pro14 title defence bid.

Tadhg Beirne with his team dejected at the end of the game Scarlets suffered a 38-16 loss to Leinster last month. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Big wins over the Cheetahs and Glasgow Warriors in the knockout rounds have set up an eagerly-anticipated rematch with the European champions on Saturday [KO 6pm] and Scarlets are desperate to exorcise the demons of that European humbling.

“We’ve certainly looked at that game and were obviously very disappointed at the time in the sense that we didn’t really fire too many shots,” Pivac said.

“We need to make sure that we are a lot more physical than we were and that we bring a lot more intention to go forward both in defence and a lot more physical in attack and the breakdown as well.

“We were pretty much beaten across the park in the semi-final in Europe. We obviously know that Leinster were a very, very good side on the day.

“They’re obviously European champions and deservedly so. Yes they played very, very well but I think the disappointing thing in our squad was that we felt we didn’t really fire too many shots.

“We really didn’t match them physically and for a rugby team, that’s a bitter pill to swallow. I think the ability to have another crack at them is something that we wanted.”

Last week’s clinical dispatch of Glasgow was Pivac’s Scarlets at their very best, as they matched last year’s feat by becoming just the second team to win an away Pro14 semi-final, and while the Welsh side understand the size of the task ahead, they are brimming with confidence.

Although preparations have been hampered somewhat by burn injuries from Glasgow’s 4G pitch — while the loss of John Barclay is also a blow — Pivac is confident his players can front up better this time around and provide Leinster with a much sterner test.

“Certainly we took a lot of confidence out of last year’s campaign and we’d like to think we’ve built on that,” the Kiwi coach continued.

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Wayne Pivac Wayne Pivac. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

“Competing in both competitions was the challenge for us this time around and we’ve been able to do that so we have taken a lot of confidence out of the success from last year.

“A lot of self belief and I think that’s evident in the way we’ve come back since the disappointment of the semi-final. It has been important that we had success as a club and we’re just going to try and build on that for the future.
“We don’t really want to be a one-season wonder and I think we’re seeing that with the growth of the side over the last two seasons. To get to this final and semi-finals in Europe is progression from last year and we’d like to build on that again next year.

“Firstly we would like to certainly put some of the wrongs from that semi-final right and hopefully we can do that.”

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