Dwayne Peel Encourages His Side To Play Without Fear While Ioan Cunningham Seeks Progress

Harry Corish - Sportin Journalist

The Scarlets have been told to play without fear by Dwayne Peel as they welcome Glasgow Warriors to Parc y Scarlets this Saturday for their European Challenge Cup semi-final.

It is set to be a huge occasion in Llanelli this weekend, with a bumper crowd expected to urge on the Scarlets as they aim to book a spot in the final, which will be held in Dublin, Saturday May 19.

Head coach Peel knows all about the heartbreak of the European Cup, having played a part in Heineken Cup semi-final losses in 2002 and 2007 against Leicester Tigers on both occasions.

But the former scrum-half insists his side can build on their success in 2023 to reach their first European final.

Peel said: “You have to be bold and go and win the game in semi-finals, not sitting on or protecting leads.

“We have to try and go and play, and that’s what I will try and encourage the players to do. I am sure it will be a great occasion with a good crowd, so it will be fantastic for them.

“Results-wise, it’s been a good 2023 so far, but we want to finish strong, and we’ve got a big opportunity at home to do that.”

Ioan Cunningham’s Wales side will also be looking for an important win in Europe this weekend as they face a tough Italian side in Rome.

The women’s side will be looking to finish off their Six Nations campaign with a bang, where they will be seeking their third win of the tournament, having already beaten Ireland and Scotland.

Progress is key for Cunningham, who has helped to shape the rise in women’s rugby in Wales over the past two years as head coach.

Wales finished third in the Six Nations last year, and despite defeats against England and France, two of the leading nations in the women’s game, Cunningham believes backing up last year’s excellent Six Nations campaign would be more than enough progress from his side.

“Our goal at the start of the TikTok Six Nations was to have two wins heading into the final game against Italy,” said Cunningham.

“We have made no secret of the fact that we have targeted three wins in this tournament.

“The players, coaches, and staff have all worked extremely hard to get us to where we are now with the final game to play, and we know we have made significant strides during this tournament.

“Italy have won the last two games against us and are two places above us in the world rankings, but we are excited about the challenge ahead of us. We are where we wanted to be, facing Italy on their home turf.”

The Indigo Premiership continues to heat up after a nail-biting WRU Premiership cup final between Cardiff and Newport last weekend at the Principality Stadium.

The Rags snatched a 13-10 win in the closing moments of the game, with a stunning effort from Joe Goodchild in the corner.

Steve Law’s side will be hoping to continue their rich form with a win against Ebbw Vale at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium as they look to cement top spot ahead of the playoffs.

Elsewhere Newport secured fourth spot as they were awarded a 20-0 bonus point victory over Llanelli, while seventh-placed RGC host Swansea RFC, who have just one win from their last 10 games.