Connacht entering new league territory
The Irish province are looking for their fifth successive win when they travel to Llanelli
Rhy Priestland returns to the Scarlets side after his Six Nations Championship campaign with Wales. Photograph: Inpho.
With their fourth successive win for the first time in a dozen years last weekend over Newport at Rodney Parade, Connacht’s thoughts of a top-six place takes them into altogether different league territory. Finally coach Pat Lam has been able to string a series of wins together despite the squad’s injury profile.
Today he can field the same team for the third week in a row as Connacht seek to reach another milestone of sorts and beat Scarlets for the first time in almost 10 years.
The Welsh side will see the Irish team as beatable at home although Connacht arrive with the understated confidence that has served them so well over the last four games.
Scarlets have a number of their internationals back including Rhys Priestland, Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies and derive belief from having won the last four meetings against Connacht and the last three encounters at Parc y Scarlets.
“The fact that both sides are now fighting for a top-six finish definitely adds some spice,” said Lam. “Scarlets have just come off the back of two losses and will see us as a winnable game at home, especially with the amount of internationals they have in their squad.”
Simon Easterby’s team has targeted Connacht’s scrum and the lineout drive and they will see John Muldoon as threat with his four tries in the last two outings.
Scarlets remain one place above Connacht on the table although they have lost their last two league games away to Ulster and Glasgow. But Easterby is looking for his international players to settle the side.
“Despite coping reasonably well during the Six Nations campaign the quality the boys bring to the table now is important,” said Easterby of his decorated players. “This week is about putting in the performance.”