We’ve rounded up all the key points from this week’s press conference, hosted by Defence Coach, Brad Davis at Llandarcy, ahead of Friday’s return leg against Stade Francais at Stade Jean Bouin.
Here’s what he had to say about…
- I think their match day 23 will probably go around again, they might make a couple of changes but not a huge amount of changes, with them being mindful of where they are in their competition.
- They’re always a different prospect playing at their patch, as opposed to when they travel. We’re going to have to be mindful that we are really on point, especially in the first 20-30 minutes to try and spoil that momentum and the passion and desire that they always, inevitably, bring to the game.
- You’ve got to perform well, you’ve got to take away the momentum early on, you can’t give them any incentive. Worcester went there in our competition and they got a win away from home, so there is definitely an opportunity for a win.
- For us its solely about focusing on getting our stuff right, and if we get our stuff right, we’ll have a look at what the scoreboard says at the end of the game and hopefully, we’ll be on the right side of it.
- It’s important for us as a region that we perform well in front of our home crowd; it’s very important that we get wins at home and build momentum there.
- Rotations are important because they bring opportunities for guys that come into the squad to represent the jersey.
- We’ve taken the majority of this group away to Leinster and Munster, and have come unstuck, so that is going to be our challenge for Friday evening, to put in a performance that we can all be proud of.
- You have to play a little bit of a long game in a season like we have. We feel that it’s a risk worth taking and in the long-term development of this squad, it’s very important.
- There will be opportunities for guys on the bench to step up. We’ve got to look at the bigger picture of how many playing minutes these guys are contributing and we have to be mindful of that fact that we don’t want to get to the back-end of the season, especially with our run-in, and have guys burnt-out.
- It’s a balancing act, you don’t always get it right but at the moment we are in control of the group, we’re looking for these guys to really step-up and deliver on Friday evening, and we’re going there to get a win.
Nicky Smith/ Injuries:
- I don’t know how long it’s going to be that Nicky Smith is out for; as a coaching group we haven’t had an update on the time-frame that he will be out for. He’s not going to be available for this week, but beyond that I can’t give you any parameters on how long its going to be.
- He’s a huge blow because he’s been playing some great rugby for us this season, not only for us but also for Wales. He’s a quality player and he’s going to be missed.
- Apart from Nicky, we came through pretty unscathed. There’s always bumps and bruises, especially against the French teams because as everyone would have seen, they are built pretty well and they are a handful. It was a physical contest and I’m pretty much expecting the same this week.
Looking forward to the Christmas derbies and the Guinness PRO14:
- The derbies over the Christmas period are great games for everyone who follows rugby in Wales, and we’re no different.
- To have the Scarlets visit our place will be a terrific game. Then we are onto playing the Dragons a week later. They are good fixtures to be involved with because it’s a good time of year to be playing in front of packed houses.
- We’ve obviously got one eye on that but what’s important for us as coaches is what happens this Friday night.
- To be perfectly honest, you’d have to win all the derbies over a couple of seasons to re-establish yourselves as the best Welsh region. The Scarlets arguably have been the best performing region over the last couple of seasons, and the Ospreys before that.
- For us as a management team, and as a squad, the next block of five games will be pivotal to where we end up at the end of the season. We’re not just focusing on the derbies; we are focusing on what goes on after that as well. It’s an important block for us, and its something that we’ve got to get right, and we’re determined to do that.
- We’re in 4th place, just two points off third. The two sides sitting at one and two are probably going to be more difficult to track down with the strength of their squads, compared to ours. But like I said, the next five games will be really important in shaping our future.