Richard Whiffin talks about a fresh start, rugby IQ and the challenge of Benetton

Rob Lloyd News

Ahead of Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 round six clash against Benetton, Scarlets assistant attack coach Richard Whiffin spoke to the media.

Here’s what he had to say.

How have you settled in so far?

RW: “I am really enjoying it; I have said from day one, the vibe here is fantastic. We have a young group of players who are hungry to learn and a group of coaching and management staff who are new, really enjoying each other’s time and company and really pushing this team on. It is a fantastic place to work, with great facilities, I have really enjoyed my first three or four months of my time here.”

How pleased have you been as a coaching team with the start to the campaign?

RW: “It is a new group coming together so you never quite know where you are going to get to. The boys have really taken our points on board and we are improving week by week. We would have taken four wins from five at the start; we have dug in and ground out a couple of wins, we put on a bit of a show against Zebre, but in that there have been performances we can improve on and that is what we are looking to do week in week out.”

What about the Scarlets’ attacking game?

RW: “We have tweaked a few things, there are some different focuses and some different ideas for the players to take on board. Myself, Dai and Brad want to be innovative in how we try and coach the game and give the players some things to think about and really drive our game forward.”

How impressed have you been with the young talent at the Scarlets?

RW: “I think the biggest thing is the IP of the players, the rugby intelligence of the players is outstanding, they really pick things up quickly. I have been massively impressed by the want to improve and their ability to kick their game on because their rugby IQ is so good.”

How is Johnny McNicholl after he came off late on against the Cheetahs?

RW: “He took a bang at the back end of the game, but he is back in training and available for selection. The medical and strength and conditioning team have been working really hard, the boys worked hard in pre-season to increase their load and that is paying dividends. We are close to a fully-fit squad which is pleasing for the management to have that.”

How tough a challenge will Benetton pose?

RW: “You only have to look at where they finished last year, third in their Conference and then pushing Munster all the way in the knockouts. It is nigh-on a full Italian team, it will be a challenge for us, but we have got some options we think we can hurt Benetton with and hopefully on Saturday we can put that out there.”