Young Scarlets take pride from draw at Harlequins

Josh Turnbull played well for the Scarlets at The Stoop.

Josh Turnbull played well for the Scarlets at The Stoop.

First published in Sport

It may have been a new look Scarlets side at The Stoop on Sunday afternoon but a youthful and energetic team delivered a strong performance to achieve a draw (15-15) against a more experienced Harlequins side.

With more than half the Scarlets' first team starters on international duty or rested for this game, the visitors had plenty to prove away from home against a strong Quins outfit.

But with the Scarlets promising to raise a few eyebrows with some exciting new talent starting for the first time this season, the young line-up played with the region's hallmark commitment and spirit - taking the game to their opponents, who started the match as the bookies' favourites.

Head Coach, Nigel Davies had said earlier this week that he was expecting a lot from his young charges in this match and in more ways than one they delivered.

And there was a near dream ending to the game in the dying minutes as full back Stoddart raced to the line but an agonising knock-on denied the recently returned international a winning try for the Scarlets.

Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies applauded his young team's defensive performance in the last 20 minutes as Harlequins held the majority of possession.

He said: "I'm really delighted with the way our young players came here today and how they performed. I think we were a little unlucky a couple of times in the second half, there were a few harsh decisions that didn't go our way.

"But the boys stuck to their guns and we could have won the match at the end and maybe deserved to.

"We know what some of these young players are capable of and they have trained and played well for our premiership teams; however you never really know how they will go until they come up against this level of competition and in my view they were magnificent this afternoon."

Davies said that all 15 of the team showed a fighting spirit and belief to keep the Scarlets in the game.

"From one to 15 - they were outstanding today and the rear guard effort in the last 20 minutes defensively was probably one of the best displays we have seen in the last two years."

In an exciting afternoon's rugby, both sides showed a lot of ambition with plenty of attacking rugby played with pace, right down to the last minute.

Asked about man of the match, Ken Owens, the Scarlets Head Coach said: "Ken is staking a very strong claim at the moment, he is playing some superb rugby and he is playing it consistently."

Carmarthen product, Owens said: "It was a tough match, they have a great pack, it was a really hard game but we can come away proud of that performance. Both sides came here to play rugby, so maybe a draw was a fair result in the end.

"Everyone's talked about the number of young players we have, and a few came out today for their first games and showed what they can do. We can be encourgaged by this today. We've got a few guys pushing for first team places, which is good. We're playing our style of rugby and enjoying it."

Davies said he was satisfied to have come away with two points. Despite sitting on the top of Pool 2 after the opening weekend of the LV= Cup, he said his Scarlets team would have a lot to do in the coming week.

"We have a long way to go, we have to back this performance up now and it's more difficult for guys who are new to this level of rugby. We now have a couple of days rest, then we have to pick them up and they have to perform at that level again next Saturday.

"So it's going to be a challenge but I am looking forward to it. The boys can certainly take confidence from this and hopefully we can improve on it this Saturday weekend at home against Worcester."

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