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Glenn Delaney Hopes His Celtic Cousins Can Do The Scarlets A Favour

By Paul Jones

Glenn Delaney is hoping his Celtic cousins can do him a favour by opening the door for the Scarlets to the Guinness Pro 14 play-offs.

The Scarlets coach watched his team subdue and then dismantle the Dragons at Rodney Parade to earn a six-try, 42-20 victory on Saturday.

The result gives them an outsider’s chance of making the semi-final play-offs, but for that to happen, Connacht – the Irish province where Delaney’s forefathers are from – need a shock victory at Munster on Sunday afternoon.

If Connacht were to manage it, then provided Munster did not pick up two losing bonus points, then the Scarlets would be into a semi-final against Leinster in Dublin on Friday.

“The irony for me is that Galway is where the Delaneys who went to New Zealand originate from, so I am feeling the roots!” said Delaney.

“It is out of our control, all we could worry about this weekend was our performance and the key thing for our group is that we look to keep getting better every week.”

More likely for the Scarlets is that their inconsistency before lockdown will deny them a chance of silverware in their bread-and-butter competition.


But the significance of their two no-nonsense, efficient dismissals of Cardiff Blues and now the Dragons is the encouraging form they are showing before their Challenge Cup quarter-final against Toulon in mid-September.

For Delaney, that is the more likely route to success from this fragmented season and the New Zealander is satisfied that the region who look the best in Wales by a distance have hit the ground running.

“I thought we played some real mature rugby when the game was in the balance,” he added.

“The pleasing thing is that it was a tight game, the Dragons exposed us on the edge a couple of times, we got heavily tested and got ourselves into an arm wrestle.

“We needed to find solutions to ride through it and we did that and I was proud of the players for having those conversations on how to solve those problems. They are learning all the time.”

For the Dragons, this was a result which looked highly likely once director of rugby Dean Ryan decided to make 10 changes from the side that had drawn with the Ospreys.

Ryan was honest enough to admit that winning was not his major priority, although it is to be hoped he would have had a different attitude if Dragons fans – having paid good money – had been allowed into the stadium to support their team.


“We got what we knew that we’d get,” said Ryan. “I was pleased that they were in it up to 50 minutes because we had eight under-23s.

“That we got dusted in the scrum and drive wasn’t a surprise because we wanted people to experience that.

“The only way that they will get better is by playing at this level and understanding it rather than waiting to experience it.

“I was pleased that we were in contention and I was pleased that we looked quite comfortable with the ball and caused them some problems.

“The damage had been done for that last 20 minutes, when the senior players came off it was difficult to get control.

“But I am not scratching my head, I haven’t got a magic wand and I can’t make a 21-year-old suddenly compete with Ken Owens.


“What a great experience for Chris Coleman, Josh Reynolds, Max Williams, now they know what the challenge looks like and they have to come back and compete with that.”

The Dragons also have their own Challenge Cup quarter-final to prepare for – away to Bristol Bears on September 18 – but will go into that match without the momentum of a victory since the re-start.

But Ryan argued: “That was very deliberate about today – and now we can look to Bristol.”


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