Aled Davies says Scarlets showing their tougher edge this season

The Scarlets have rarely made life easy for themselves this season so it feels fitting that their quest to reach the Guinness PRO12 play-offs should come down to a final-day showdown at Thomond Park.
Aled Davies says Scarlets showing their tougher edge this season

Few were mentioning Wayne Pivac’s men as potential title winners when the season kicked off back in September, yet it took until just last month for them to be shifted from the top four.

Along the way there have been international absentees, lengthy lists of injuries, a debilitating norovirus and bloody training ground clashes, yet the men from west Wales have bravely hung in there.

The likes of Liam Williams, Scott Williams, Steven Shingler, James Davies, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Regan King and Aaron Shingler have been long-term injury absentees while up to 20 players were struck down by vomiting and diarrhoea before the damaging defeat at Glasgow.

During the week of that fixture, Wales lock Ball lost some 10 kilosin just three days, while scrum-half Gareth Davies was physically sick just before kick-off.

The players have even inflicted damage on themselves, with Ball and fly-half Shingler needed extensive stitchwork after a clash of heads just last week.

But it has been typical of Pivac’s no-nonsense approach that no excuses have been offered at any stage of the campaign, and scrum-half Aled Davies knows that will apply if they do not get the result they need against Munster this afternoon.

“It is massive, it is basically a quarter-final, we need five points ideally and we have nothing to lose,” he said.

“It is a big stage, they have plenty to play for too. “

“If we were at this stage last season we would probably not have been feeling that confident as we barely won an away game all season.

“This season has been a different story, and there is no reason we cannot do it.

“We have got a tougher edge to us this season, we have come back to win quite a few games late on.

“We have toughened up. The last few weeks were not great but we did the job last weekend and we need it this time too.

“It is about backing it up, it is easy to play well after two defeats because you want to put it right, the key is to back it up and perform again after a win.

“It will be a tough game but we need to back it up and hope the Ospreys do us a favour against Ulster or we will be on holidays next week. And we do not want that.”

If the Scarlets are to triumph in Limerick, Davies will need to have a better day than opposite number Conor Murray.

And, having been part of Wales’ Six Nations squad, the 23-year-old hopes getting one over on the British & Irish Lion can boost his prospects of a call-up for the summer tour of New Zealand.

“I really enjoyed the Six Nations, it was a great experience,” he said.

“I don’t know what will happen with the tour but a big game this weekend would certainly help.

“Conor is a very good player and a really good test for any scrum-half but it is my job to go out there and play better than him.

“He is a smart tactician, he is strong and he has a really good kicking game. He has quality. “His kicking game is a big part of their game, the aerial battle will be important and we will need to win it.

“We have guys like Liam who are great in the air. It will be a big test in every aspect.”

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