Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney spoke to the media on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Cardiff Blues at the Cardiff City Stadium (7.35pm ko). Here is what he had to say.
What are your thoughts about the challenge Cardiff Blues will pose on Saturday?
GD: “The challenges don’t get any easier. We are going to be playing a really creative side which in adversity tends to stand up and play really well. Everyone will expect a response and knowing those lads down there they will give it. They will be a very tough opponent this weekend. Something like what has happened this week (with their coaching set-up) always has a galvanising effect. We know the threats they pose. We are expecting them to put everything on show.”
Are you confident you can make it three derby wins from three?
GD: “You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself. In this game you can go from a rooster to feather duster in a very short space of time! What we want to do is make sure we are improving each week, there are parts of our game we want to improve and we are consistently working on. The opportunism will be there to play from both sides. The way pressure builds in derby games is a bit different and maybe people are trying a bit too hard in these games. The motivation is always there, you don’t need to stoke the fires in these games, our job is to make sure the players are composed, creative and able to execute.”
What is the latest injury update?
GD: “Jake is walking around, he has a medial collateral (ligament) knee injury, but I don’t have any timeframe on how long he will be out for at the moment. Liam, Leigh, Jon, Johnny Williams and Ken are all training. After our main training session today we will be able to nail it down. Those guys are all on the field and putting their hands up. Rhys Patchell, Aaron Shingler and James Davies are still working their way back. Patch is back out on the field doing some work, taking steps towards his reconditioning and the others are working away on their individual programmes. I would love to be able to say these guys are going to be back in full training in a couple of weeks, but I can’t at the moment. Their health is their prime concern, we want them out there, they want to be out there, time’s the thing they need on their side. Tyler Morgan won’t be in contention because of a groin injury picked up in the Dragons game.
Sam Costelow made a big impression in his cameo against the Dragons, what is your plan for Sam’s development?
GD: “It is exciting when you see a young man starting to make those steps towards fulfilling the promise that we all hope he will achieve. We have a responsibility to him to make sure all the experiences he has are those that reinforce the things he is learning.
“It was a wonderful 20-odd minutes he had and we have been consistent with that approach. We saw that in Ulster for the back 20 minutes, he also drove the Zebre game late on. We are giving him the exposure we think is right and by the end of his first season he will have racked up quite a few minutes in different situations and really fill the bank of information you need as a 10. It is slightly different to other positions in terms of integration, it is a bit easier for a tight forward to get into their role than a game controller where there is a lot going on, a lot of pressure. We have to make sure he is coping, dealing with it and walking towards it and driving the team.
“We are six months into the journey of working with Sam, he is brilliant to work with and is showing all the promise and we are predicting he will have a bright future. We want to turn those 20 minutes slots and grow them out to when he is able to deliver those performances for 80 minutes. He has a couple of great coaches in Rich Whiffin and Dai Flanagan who are working really closely with him and he has some great players around him to help him build his experience. The future is bright for Sam and we will look to keep exposing him in the right way.”