Peel praises fighting spirit in ‘big, big win’

Rob LloydNewyddion

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel praised his side’s fighting spirit after they withheld a powerful comeback from the Vodacom Bulls to secure maximum points at Parc y Scarlets.

Scarlets led 27-7 at one stage, only for the South African side to surge back into the contest with their abrasive pack to the fore.

But the home side held out, securing the bonus point with five minutes to go thanks to a Johnny McNicholl score.

“It was a tale of two halves,” said Peel. “I thought in the first half we were particularly good, we started really sprightly and got over the line. And then second half, I felt like they came after us physically in those tight areas, which we knew they would. 

“I did feel like we were a bit naive in that second half, we didn’t respect territory enough. But I am really pleased to come back at the end, credit to the forwards, there were a couple of times when they ignored going for three points, and we held them out, it was a huge defensive set.”

Peel added: “I am delighted with the win because the Bulls are a top-end team, they came here fully-loaded, so it’s a big, big win for us, a big win for this season and a huge win in general.

“I spoke in the changing room about why I was pleased, not just with the win, but our ability to back up performances and results. For us that is the growth, to see us defending like a team at the end and scrapping for each other, that is what a good team is. We are seeing a team who want to fight and scrap for every point and every tackle.”

With the Guinness Six Nations now taking centre stage, Scarlets have three weeks before their next URC game, at home to Edinburgh on February 18.

“Everyone will have a week off and that break is well deserved,” added Peel. “They will enjoy that and then it’s back to work and then a big one against Edinburgh in three weeks time.”