Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac is hoping “common sense will prevail” to allow Steff Evans to face Munster in Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 final at the Aviva Stadium.
Evans was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Leinster centre Garry Ringrose just before half-time in last weekend’s semi-final triumph in Dublin and will miss the return to the Irish capital unless the Scarlets can mount a good enough defence at his disciplinary hearing tomorrow morning.
With skipper and British & Irish Lions hooker Ken Owens and lock Jake Ball both ruled out of the final against Munster due to ankle and shoulder injuries, respectively, Pivac is hoping he won’t lose another key player, as his side aims for a first piece of silverware since 2004.
“We like to think we will have the same squad to select from as last weekend. Steff’s case will be heard on Wednesday morning,” said Pivac.
“Technically, it was judged 100% right by the referee. It is black and white these days, if you go above the horizontal.
“It is then just looking what part of the body the player lands on, [be it] head, neck, shoulders or back.
“There were only millimetres in it, but his head did hit the ground first, so we had no argument with the red card, but in terms of intent, under the old rules, he would have been fine. There was no intent or malice in it.
“The fact that Samson [Lee] got involved in the tackle probably spun the player around and it was just one of those unfortunate things.
“We are hoping that, with his record, and the incident itself, it will mean that common sense will prevail.”
Scarlets were given no chance of beating Leinster in Dublin last weekend and will be missing two of their main front five forwards for a second week in a row.
“Ken and Jake won’t feature in the final,-it is just too soon. Ken is improving daily, which is great, and he is in Carton House with the Lions at the moment,” added Pivac. “He won’t be right in time for our game, so he has been released to the Lions.
“Jake’s shoulder is still problematic, so our medical team is in discussion with Wales at the moment to sort out what they do going forward.”
The Scarlets will go into the game buoyed by their three wins to date this season on Irish soil — at Thomond Park, the Sportsground, and RDS — and by the fact they have won the toss to play in their traditional scarlet shirts for the game.
“We haven’t come this far just to make up the numbers. We have put in all this hard work over the past few years and it’s now all about winning the title,” said Pivac.
“There is a rich history at this club and real passion in the region. Everyone remembers the day Llanelli beat the All Blacks in 1972, but this team wants to create its own history.”
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