Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney spoke to the media ahead of the Boxing Day derby against the Ospreys.
Here are snapshots from the virtual press call.
Do you have any players returning from injury?
GD: “Jake (Ball) is back in the mix for this week after not being available last week because of concussion. He is a champion of a bloke, runs a good lineout and is pretty influential, we are so fortunate that those senior guys are so giving with their time, he is a great role model for the likes of Jac Price and Morgan Jones, players who are learning their craft off a guy who is at the top of his game. Jake was disappointed he couldn’t continue in Bath, it is good to have him back.”
What difference does it make having the match switched to Parc y Scarlets?
GD: “We love playing the Ospreys, when I remember back to last year with 15,000 in the stadium, it was phenomenal. That is the biggest shame of this for me, people aren’t going to be able to come to watch the game. These are the games they live for and the atmosphere we had here 12 months ago was electric. I haven’t experienced that kind of fervent support before. It is going to be a great derby match and I hope everyone gets an opportunity to experience it and share it as best they can. Obviously, with the current lockdown, the reality is we need to bring a bit of cheer and have a bit of distraction and a bit of escapism, these games tend to deliver that.”
Even without crowds, I’d imagine motivation won’t be an issue?
GD: “You let the players go for games like this and it will be the same in every other region. There will not be a lot of motivation coming from the staff, the boys will bring the energy themselves, they know what it’s like to play against guys they know well and they love the challenge. Motivation will be fine, they will get themselves there.”
Ospreys coach Toby Booth says you are wearing the crown as Wales’ best side. How do you see that?
GD: “The Ospreys are the form horse at the moment. I think Boothy has them playing really good rugby. He is throwing a bit of smoke there! I know they are playing their home game here, but it is still their home game and they will be approaching it that way. It is going to be a cracking game.”
What do you make of the individual battles?
GD: “Wayne (Pivac) and his coaches will always look at these games as indicators. For fans, they get to see the very best players in Wales playing against the very best players in Wales, that will add interest and a lot of spice. The players do know each other incredibly well and you tend to go harder when you play against your mates. There will be some great match-ups across the field. That is the sub-plot to these games and what makes them so intriguing.”