The Scarlets disappointment and frustration at losing out in the final 15 minutes of high tempo opening game against Leinster will only serve to spur the players on for next week’s home game against Treviso.
It was a first half full of promise as the Scarlets got off to a flying start showing all the adventure, ambition and attacking options they are known for backed by a dominant scrum.
Centre Steven Shingler showing his ability and accuracy with the boot as he competently kicked 14 points from four penalties and one conversion for the home side.
With a score line of 16-10 to the Scarlets at half-time; the game was still very much in the grasp of the West Wales region after an hour gone.
With a number of Scarlets players on impressive form in the opening half with the pack working well to give the home side edge. Ken Owens and Samson Lee put in strong performances and back row Aaron Shingler who showed his pace, footwork and ability to break in order to create the try opportunity for captain Rob McCusker.
However, PRO12 champions Leinster showed why they lifted the crown last season with an energetic come back and pressure that a team of their quality and experience relies on at key times.
For Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby it was a frustrating final quarter performance in a game that showed what promise and ambition his side has to play the game and execute their plan.
But he said that the lessons and error count and indiscipline that cost them the game would only serve to spur them on next week; adding that were all elements in the side’s control to fix and get right next weekend.
Easterbysaid: “The players were very good in the first forty minutes; the scrum was strong, we had good possession and field position and we kept the scoreboard ticking over. The players did all we talked about and executed well. It was very encouraging to see how we started.
“However, we conceded early in the second half and after that we started to chase and tried to force things which led to us coughing up a lot of ball. It was about our error rather than being forced into mistakes and these are things we can fix.
“If you give away that much possession to teams like Leinster who can capitalise well on mistakes - you’re not going to win a game of rugby. We needed to hold onto the ball more and at times just go another phase or two particularly in their 22 that will create a score for you rather than going for the magic pass.
“We want the players to feel like they can break the game up – that’s part of the way we play the game but it’s also about balancing that with an understanding of when and not forcing those things too far at the wrong times.”
Easterby said he’d expect a reaction from a proud and committed group of players next week.
“It’s frustrating at first to lose out like that at the end of a game when we’d put in so much in the first half – particularly when it’s down to our own mistakes. There are no excuses for that.
“But we’re not going to over-react just one game into a very long season - we also know what promise and ability we have in this side and when we’ve shaken off the disappointment there was plenty in the game for us to build from on Monday morning.
“After an hour of the game, there was just four points in it – we needed to show more composure and leadership on the field to make the right decisions and be more clinical in possession.
“I couldn’t fault many of the things our players were doing up to the break and that’s where we build from next week.
“This is a time for strong and clear leadership from our senior players and the coaches and with another home game against Treviso next weekend and then a Welsh derby against the Dragons – we can put a lot of things right for our loyal home supporters.”