Friday 9 December 2016

Lamont: Scarlets to target 'light tackler' O'Gara

Published 15/12/2011 | 05:00

The Scarlets will be gunning for Ronan O'Gara at Thomond Park this weekend as they seek to regain control of their destiny in Pool 1 of the Heineken Cup.

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O'Gara kicked 12 points during Munster's 17-14 victory in the reverse fixture last Saturday, but he also missed three tackles as Scarlets coach Nigel Davies detailed bruising back Sean Lamont to barge down the No 10 channel.

And Scottish international Lamont is likely to be deployed in that manner again this weekend, backed up by the boisterous presence of the returning teenage wing sensation George North, who was a late withdrawal from last weekend's game because of a dead leg.

"We know the strength and weaknesses of Ronan," said Lamont. "His kicking is a strength, but we also know he is a lighter tackler.

"There are points you have to focus on. We know where we need to attack. We just need to be more clinical."

Lamont, capped 60 times by the Scots, feels that his side were guilty of several crucial errors which, if amended this weekend, could easily see the result swing in favour of the visitors.

"I don't think they are a million miles away from us," he insisted.

"They got one relatively slack try down to an error by us. Yes you could say it was down to their pressure, but tackles should have been made and off-loads should have been stopped.

"A couple of kicks was all that separated us. We have got to be confident and believe in ourselves.

"I believe we have the depth of talent in our squad to do it and all the boys have got to believe that as well.

"We highlighted the bits where we had chances and missed them. Munster are an extremely good side and they did to us what everyone knows they can do.

"They ground out a win away from home and that is the difference between championship sides and those who don't get there. It is what Munster do and we allowed them to do it.

"They controlled the breakdown very well and were able to slow down our ball. But it was all about fine margins, just three points. It is the Heineken Cup and that is the beauty of it. We know we have got to step it up at a tough place. We know the areas we have to improve on where we can target."

Lamont conceded that Scarlets' naivete in attempting to play too much rugby back-fired, particularly after they had been gifted an eight-point lead -- which could actually have been greater but for some missed kicks -- after Munster's woeful opening bow.

"We know we can score tries," he said, before conceding that his side need to temper their ambition. "But we can't push it too much -- the way the Scarlets play, it will come, but we can't force it.

"There is pressure being put on players for the starting position and that has got to improve you -- that is the benefit we have had this year. We just need to be clinical at the right times.

"Little things cost us -- a couple of forward passes, not sorting out our kick-chase, penalties in the wrong areas. It is not a lot. If we can reverse the scoreline we will be away. Any win will do us on Sunday.

"But it is about error count and penalty count. Don't give them penalties. Don't give them field position. Keep the ball. Cut out errors. Play in the right areas."

Irish Independent

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