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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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'We have to try and match what Leinster are doing - they are the champion side'

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac says Leinster’s strength in depth has been key to their success, and his side must try and build on their playing resources.

Scarlets reached the Champions Cup semi-finals and Pro14 final this season.
Scarlets reached the Champions Cup semi-finals and Pro14 final this season.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Ryan Bailey reports from the Aviva Stadium

NOT QUITE A case of déjà vu, but there was a distinctly familiar feel to this trip to Dublin for the Scarlets, as they were ultimately left helpless in the face of another clinical and consummate Leinster performance.

Their coach, Wayne Pivac, spoke in the build up about how his side wanted to right the wrongs of their humbling Champions Cup semi-final defeat here a few weeks ago, but the reality was that Leinster are so far ahead of everyone else that closing the gap was always going to be an unenviable, if not impossible, task.

And so it transpired, as Leo Cullen’s side augmented their Champions Cup crown with a fifth Pro14 title as their dream season scaled new heights thanks to another clinical five-try performance.

Scarlets were marginally better than they were in that European loss but again they were unable to deal with Leinster’s energy, intensity and ferocity as the province struck at key moments to surge into a clear lead and all but settle the 2018 decider as a contest as early as the 55th minute.

It was a disappointing way for Pivac’s side to surrender the crown they won here 12 months ago, but the Kiwi coach was honest enough to admit this Leinster side were worthy winners.

“I guess the first thing I want to say is, what a great side they are,” Pivac began his press conference.

“They deserved to win that game out there today, and it wasn’t through a lack of effort from our boys but certainly critical moments in the game, they took their opportunities and we made a few errors which they punished.

“They won the aerial game for 65 minutes and that allowed them to dominate the possession and the territory. Some points came off the back of that. Disappointed to let the try in on half-time, I thought with a little bit of possession we had and territory, to go in and at 14-11 would have been a good changing room so that was a bit disappointing clearly for all of us.

“I just wanted to say the character the boys showed at the end of a long season, at 40-18, it just showed the true character of this side and shows how far we have come. We take our hats off to a very, very good Leinster side.”

Captain Ken Owens agreed: “Wayne said after the game it takes a champion side to beat another champion side and I thought our boys put massive effort in, you can’t question that at all, but sometimes you come up against a better side.”

Wayne Pivac during the post match press conference Pivac speaking post-match. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Leinster have set the bar in Europe this season and by using 55 players and delving deep into their remarkable resource pool, were able to compete on two fronts and ultimately become the first side to win a Pro14-Champions Cup double.

It is a unique achievement for the eastern province and Pivac agreed that having strength in depth, as well as the sufficient calibre of player, is key for success, insisting that Scarlets aren’t able to compete financially with the likes of Leinster.

“With the resources we have, and from where we operate out of, I think the boys have done very, very well and should be proud of the success they had last year and then again what they’ve done this year,” he continued.

“We’ll keep fighting, we want to be champions again so there’s a lot of hard work to be done. There are areas of our game that were on show today where we clearly have to improve. We want to be a better side so we’re not going to sit back and relax and say, yeah we’ve had a pretty good season, but now we’ve got to get back to work and hopefully improve again.”

On Leinster’s stock pool, Pivac added: “They have a very good system and a very good budget. We have a pretty good record too which we’re proud of and that is a lot of locally based players and we have to do that, we have to try and match what Leinster are doing — they are the champion side.

“They are the double champions so we have to try and compete with them on all fronts, as well as developing young players and in the market place as well to make sure we get the balance of our squad right like they have clearly done.”

Source: The42.ie/YouTube

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Ryan Bailey

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