Ahead of the Scarlets’ final game of the season against Edinburgh on Sunday, interim head coach Dai Flanagan sat down to speak to the media. Here’s what he had to say.
What’s it like getting ready to play in front of fans again?
DF: “It is massive. It is massive for the players, staff and of course, for the supporters, who I am sure can’t wait to get back. It is going to be a great day down here and so nice to have them back. Everyone is looking forward to it and we have seen a real spike in training this week because everyone wants to play this week. The staff have been very busy, people working around the clock to make sure everything is in place for the weekend.”
What is your reaction to the Wales squad, great for Tom Rogers, but disappointing for players like Jac Morgan and Rob Evans?
DF: “Tom is the ultimate professional, he has made the most of the experience we have here with Leigh, Liam, Steff Evs, Johnny McNicholl. He has latched on to all of them and he has taken certain bits from everyone, he is making sure he is getting the most out of those players when they are around. Physically, he has changed his whole body. During lockdown he built a purpose-built gym in his garage and spent a lot of his money. He took a headstart by investing in himself and he is getting it back in the long run. What he has achieved is down to hard work. As for those who didn’t get selected, I haven’t seen that disappointment first hand. Those boys have turned up to work and got on with it. There is bound to be hurt because as a professional rugby player you are self-driven and do believe you are the best, but they have all reacted the right way. People are really excited to play on Sunday.”
What is the latest on injuries ahead of Edinburgh?
DF: “Dane Blacker is back running and kicking, but he won’t make the weekend unfortunately. As I have said previously, we are going to expose players who are important to us next year and give some youngsters an opportunity who haven’t had much rugby this season. Samson Lee (pictured) has got potential to be in the 23, he is back training fully, he has been training fully for the last two to three weeks. Ryan Conbeer has trained the house down and I am sure everyone will be excited to see him back in the 23.”
How will it to be saying goodbye to players?
DF: “You look at Werner Kruger, who has been an outstanding pro with something like 500 professional games, this is his last week as a professional rugby player and he is treasuring every moment. Friday will be our last training session as a big group and I am sure the boys will say a few words to say our thanks.”
After a tough season, is there a real desire to finish on a high?
DF: “100 percent. We want to leave a mark with people, people have missed coming to games especially at Parc y Scarlets where a lot of lives revolve around the games. We want to give them that feeling again, that buzz of what it means to come back so they can really start to look forward to next season.”