Ioan Cunningham hoping Scarlets can change Murrayfield record

Rob Lloyd News

As Scarlets prepare for their second match north of the border this season, here are the thoughts of forwards coach Ioan Cunningham on building on a fast start, potential World Cup returnees and the challenge of Edinburgh.

Ioan, you must be delighted with how you have started the season?

We are very happy, obviously to get three wins is a great start for us. The boys are working extremely hard to get the job done every weekend and everyone is enjoying being part of this.

Do you think the week off has helped?

Momentum is key, but it is such a long season. I think we go 13 weeks on the trot now so having that pause, a break to freshen up, is great for us.

What about the challenge of Edinburgh, where you haven’t won for six years?

It is an extremely tough place to go and we expect a big response from them after their defeat against Leinster two weeks ago. Knowing how they play their mindset as well, we’ve spoken a lot about it. We are looking forward to that challenge.

It is the start of another important block of matches for us. I remember the year we won the PRO12 we went on a winning run when we lost 12 guys to international rugby and the group that was back with us had a 90% win ratio. That holds you in good stead when the international guys come back.

When will see the non-Welsh players returning from World Cup duty?

Kieron Fonotia didn’t have a huge amount of minutes during the World Cup and is back this weekend. It is great to have him back in the squad.  In terms of Sam Lousi and Tevita Ratuva we’re waiting for their visas to be sorted and hopefully we will see them for the Benetton game.

Blade Thomson has been in and it’s been good to see him. He’s probably along the same lines as Sam as well. It’s important to give him a couple of weeks to freshen up, mentally more than physically. It’s been a long campaign for the guys at the World Cup.

It is a long season for us and we want them firing come Christmas time as well.

We are really looking forward to getting them on board.

You are the only remaining member of the coaching team from last season, has there been a big difference?

It is not a massive difference. It’s been a very fresh, positive approach, some new ideas, different ways of doing things from a Super Rugby point of view, which is refreshing; a new stimulus to the group as well. The boys are responding well. We are enjoying it and everyone is working hard.

You can watch Edinburgh v Scarlets on Premier Sports 2 on Saturday evening, kick-off 7.35pm