Scarlets Chief Dwayne Peel Admits Welsh Regions Have Huge Task Ahead

Dwayne Peel summed up the size of the task that all the Welsh regions face this season after a difficult opening weekend of the URC campaign.

All four sides lost, with the Scarlets and Ospreys suffering on the road, while both Cardiff and the Dragons lost in front of their own fans.

Scarlets coach Peel watched his team get trampled over by the Bulls as they lost 63-21 in South Africa to complete a conspicuous weekend whitewash.

Taine Plumtree marked his Scarlets debut with a pair of tries, but they were outclassed by Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

“We had a lesson in execution,” said Peel. “The Bulls were very clinical, especially in that first 25 minutes, they punished every error we made.

“We came back into it, and I’m disappointed we didn’t get the bonus point for four tries, but at the end of the day we didn’t really deserve it.

“The reality is not many sides come here and win. Some good sides have been sent packing here.

“For us, it is not the end of the world, we need to lick our wounds, stay tight and move on. We are not going to dwell on it.

“You get a lot out of these trips and this young group will learn from that experience. There are a lot of young men here who won’t be the first to experience that coming to Loftus.

Flanker Plumtree arrived in Llanelli from the Blues with hopes of impressing Wales coach Warren Gatland and forcing his way into the national squad and caught the eye in Pretoria despite Scarlets being second best.


Toby Booth has admitted his Ospreys team were “rabbits in the headlights” at Connacht where they lost their United Rugby Championship opener.

Booth conceded the visitors gave themselves far too much to do to recover, even though they ran in three second half tries to at least secure a bonus-point against last season’s URC semi-finalists in Galway before losing 34-26.

The Ospreys produced a stirring second-half fightback after they trailed 27-5 at the break, but it still wasn’t enough to stop the home side’s new head coach, Pete Wilkins, marking his competitive debut with a win.

“You come to a place like this and if they see you’re a bit passive, they’ll go over the top of you.

“Then we found our feet, a bit of self-belief and thought, ‘we can compete here’. The youngsters came on and brought a lot of energy because they had no respect for anyone which was great and infectious, and we looked a lot better for it.”


Cardiff coach Matt Sherratt admitted his team got what they deserved after they lost at home to Benetton.

The Italians won 23-22 at the Arms Park after they snatched victory following a straight red card given to Cardiff prop Ciaran Parker for a reckless high tackle.

The visitors had trailed 19-3 after 32 minutes but went up a gear in the second half to snatch the spoils in the final minute of the match.

Jacob Umaga nailed a penalty after Benetton prop Simone Ferrari had been laid out by a shoulder to the head from debut-making Cardiff prop Parker, who was sent off for dangerous play.

“Ciaran (Parker) actually did very well when he came on and made a real impact, but that error is unfortunate, especially when there was just 90 seconds left. It’s just about learning technique, but we have no complaints about the red,” said Sherratt.

“We’ve been on the other side of those late kicks on occasions, and it’s important not to judge an entire game on one moment.”


The Dragons also lost after giving away too many penalties at Rodney Parade and succumbing, 22-17 to Edinburgh.

Ben Healy kicked five of those penalties to see the Scottish side home, and Dragons coach Dai Flanagan admitted: “You can’t win at any level with our penalty count, especially against a kicker like Ben Healy.

“We lost momentum and the referee with our decisions because we were ill-disciplined and then he is only refereeing one team and rightly so.’’