Wayne Pivac Says Scarlets Are Frantic And Fantastic As Bath Are Run Ragged

Wayne Pivac paid tribute to his scintillating Scarlets after they tore Bath apart to put themselves close to the knockout stages of the European Champions Cup.

Pivac watched his team win 35-17 at The Rec on Friday night with a display as impressive as anything a Welsh region has produced for over a decade in Europe.

The Scarlets scored four tries in a rampaging exhibition of flowing rugby to deliver a bonus point and put them top of Pool Five.

A victory over Toulon at Parc Y Scarlets next weekend will put them into the last eight for the first time in 11 years.

Pivac said: “We certainly got the start we were after and to a man everybody stood up and did the job that was asked of them.

“It was a frantic first 20 minutes, so we played at the tempo we wanted and certainly there were some great tries scored in that first half which gave us that momentum.

“We score a lot of tries from turnover ball – most sides like to get that sort of ball against unstructured defence – and certainly our boys moved the ball really well.”

Bath, though, are facing being frozen out of the last-eight picture after their red-hot opponents ran in tries by lock Tadhg Beirne, wing Paul Asquith and Wales international centres Scott Williams and Hadleigh Parkes.

Fly-half Dan Jones added 15 points from the boot as Scarlets made light of losing injured Wales star Leigh Halfpenny 24 hours before kick-off, with outclassed Bath managing tries from wing Matt Banahan and number eight Zach Mercer, plus two Freddie Burns conversions and a penalty.

Bath rugby director Todd Blackadder said: “Big games are all about executing your basics well, and we didn’t do that.

“We’ve got to address some internal issues we have got, and one of those is our inconsistency. The preparation has been bang on, but we are still getting inconsistent performances.

“We are so inconsistent that it has to be mental. We were preparing for hopefully a home quarter-final, but that was our fourth loss at home this season, which is just inexcusable. It lies with us – myself, the players – and we have got to turn this around.”

Will Pivac. Pic: Getty Images.

England head coach Eddie Jones looked on as the 1998 European champions came horribly unstuck, but Bath could have no complaints on a night when the Scarlets dominated every key area.

Bath dominated initial territory, but they suffered a major injury blow when their Wales international fly-half and former Scarlets number 10 Rhys Priestland limped off to be replaced by Freddie Burns.

And Bath were behind their posts just eight minutes later, left reeling by a stunning Scarlets attack that full-back Rhys Patchell started inside his own 22.

Parkes and flanker Aaron Shingler played prominent roles to set up Beirne, who side-stepped England star Anthony Watson before claiming a memorable try.

Jones added the conversion as Scarlets served immediate notice of their renowned attacking prowess that drove them to last season’s Guinness PRO12 title.

England flanker Sam Underhill, making his first appearance for two months following prolonged concussion symptoms, was prominent in Bath’s attempts to wipe out the deficit, before Burns opened their account through a 22nd-minute penalty.

Scarlets number eight John Barclay’s penalty indiscretion – he roamed offside to halt Bath scrum-half Chris Cook just two metres from his own line – gave referee Jerome Garces little option but to sin-bin him.

But the Scarlets were untroubled by his departure, rocking Bath on their heels again as they claimed a second try when Patchell moved possession wide, Parkes acted as the link and Asquith crossed unopposed in the corner.

Bath did not know what had hit them, and it got worse nine minutes before half-time – and with Barclay still off – when scrum-half Gareth Davies sprinted through a huge gap following an attacking Scarlets lineout and support runner Parkes finished off between the posts.

Jones’ conversion made it 19-3 and the fly-half then kicked a penalty following a Bath scrummaging offence, with the home side trooping off at half-time after being taught a lesson in terms of ambition, creativity and running rugby.

Williams claimed Scarlets’ fourth try 11 minutes into the second period, collecting Patchell’s cleverly placed kick to score, and although Banahan’s acrobatic catch and finish for a touchdown that Burns converted cut Bath’s arrears to 19 points, they were still way off the pace.

Another Jones penalty took the Scarlets past 30 points and, despite Bath belatedly stirring through Mercer’s touchdown, it was a case of way too little, too late as the Scarlets side comfortably closed out a comprehensive success.

Bath: Watson; Banahan, Joseph, Tapuai, A Brew; Priestland, Cook; Obano, Dunn, Thomas; Stooke, Charteris, Garvey (capt), Underhill, Mercer.

Replacements: Burns for Priestland (5), Fotuali’i for Cook (53), Noguera for Obano (60), Lahiff for Thomas (49), Grant for Stooke (67), Phillips for Charteris (60).

Not Used: van Vuuren, Wilson.

Scarlets: Patchell; Asquith, Parkes, Williams, Prydie; D Jones, G Davies; Evans, Owens (capt), Lee, Beirne, Bulbring, Shingler, J Davies, Barclay

Replacements: A Davies for G Davies (62), W Jones for R Evans (66), Elias for Owens (67), Kruger for Lee (54), Rawlins for Bulbring (60), Macleod for Barclay (67).

Not Used: S Hughes, Boyde.

Referee: Jerome Garces


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