The Scarlets are up and running in Europe after holding off a stubborn London Irish side to clinch a 20-16 Challenge Cup victory at Parc y Scarlets.
Afterwards, our head coach Brad Mooar gave his thoughts to the media.
Brad, it was tough going, but another good win?
BM: “Yes, I thought the boys stayed composed and we asked a few more questions in the second half. It was a frustrating first half, I think ball-in-play time was only 12 minutes. There were a lot of stoppages, a lot of players going down, a lot of water breaks.
“But our guys stuck at it and kept asking questions. It was a bit like last week against Benetton, I think we were one try away from breaking them. They were hanging in there, they are a good side, a club with good depth and they challenged us. I am happy with the win.”
Two tries came from clever kicks. Were those straight off the training field?
BM: “What does come from the training ground is the mentality be bold and have a go. The first try came from a set play that turned into a ‘play-what-you-see’ and I thought it was good that the boys on the outside were keeping width and Dan Jones saw the space and executed. To see the boys on the same page doing that really warms the heart. I also thought Corey Baldwin showed some great skills to haul the ball in under pressure.
“For the second try Kieron Fonotia will be dining out on his chip kick for a long time. He deserves the moment because he puts a lot of work into it and to provide that over the top for Steff Hughes, who is so often the provider of our kicking game was a beautiful moment and you could see how excited the boys were to see that from Fonz.”
What did you think of the performance of Tevita Ratuva on his debut?
BM: “He was superb, wasn’t he? He struggled to get off the field after cramping up, but it was great to listen to the crowd give him the ovation they did, he put some work in.
“He is going to be outstanding. To see him, after two weeks here, carry hard, tackle hard and just his endeavour to want to work for the team and the jersey already was just superb. He is going to become a crowd favourite very quickly.”
That’s five wins at home this season, you must be delighted with your form here at Parc y Scarlets?
BM: “The fans love seeing us put in a good performance and supporting the side and we are keeping them here to the last minute! The support is awesome, we want this place to be a fortress and we are proud to play here and running out onto the Parc.”
What about the challenge of Toulon next week?
BM: “The atmosphere is going to be wonderful, a great stadium, they have fans that are hugely supportive of the team and they have a squad with a lot of dangerous players. They picked up a win against Bayonne on Friday night and I am sure they will look forward to being back at home and welcoming us to Toulon.”
Will you have any of your World Cup players available?
“Hopefully we will have a couple back. An awesome part of the job that in the last couple of weeks we have seen players make their 100th appearance for the club and on Saturday, Tex Ratuva, Ryan Lamb, Jac Morgan made their debuts; Morgan Williams made his debut for the season and those are special moments to be part of. We are excited about that, we have players coming back from the World Cup and it is a great challenge for the coaching staff to pick a side.”