Friday 24 February 2017

Rees lays down law for Connacht clash

Hugh Farrelly

SCARLETS captain Matthew Rees has "laid into" his team-mates ahead of Saturday's Magners League clash with Connacht at Parc y Scarlets.

The Welsh side suffered a shock defeat in Treviso in the opening round without Rees, but the Wales and Lions hooker looks certain to play against Eric Elwood's men -- high in confidence after a thumping home victory over the Dragons -- and Scarlets coach Nigel Davies says Rees has been laying down the law in the build-up to Saturday's clash.

"We are starting to see the strength of Matthew Rees as captain," revealed Davies.

"He laid into them and that is exactly what I would expect from Matthew. I am sure he will be involved at the weekend and he will demand better from everybody," added Davies, who is ready to select out-half Stephen Jones and winger Sean Lamont after the international pair missed the trip to Italy.

Full-back Morgan Stoddart looks set to miss out with a hamstring strain, but Davies is hopeful Australian No 8 David Lyons will have recovered from his hamstring problem.

Connacht will be wary of the threat posed by 6'4" winger George North, the latest teenage sensation to come out of Welsh rugby, after the 18-year-old pounced for two tries against Treviso, but Davies says defence is the key on Saturday.

"We got some key moments of the game wrong against Treviso and defence has been a big focus for us this week," said Davies.

"Looking back at the game we were very poor without the ball, we didn't front up and we gave away a couple of very soft tries. We just didn't man up.

"We have told the group that historically we have picked the team based on their ability with the ball, that will no longer be the case, it will be their ability to defend as much as anything else."

Irish Independent

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