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'We had boys calling Welsh team calls as opposed to Scarlets calls': Incredible excuse emerges for Champions Cup hammering

By Sam Smith
(Photo by PA)

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An incredible excuse had been given for last Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup mauling of Scarlets by Sale – the Welsh region’s international players were erroneously calling plays belonging to Wayne Pivac’s Six Nations title-winning Wales. 


Scarlets were disturbingly hammered 57-14 in the round of 16 European tie and it has now emerged that rather than helping their efforts, the return of their Wales contingent hampered them in a contest where the result was out of reach by half-time with the Parc y Scarlets hosts trailing 0-23.    

Sale went on to score six tries in total in the one-sided affair where the most prominent piece of Scarlets’ resistance was the X-rated breakdown collision that featured an unpunished Jake Ball making contact with the head of South African World Cup winner Faf de Klerk. 

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Wales out-half Dan Biggar guests on the latest RugbyPass All Access
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Wales out-half Dan Biggar guests on the latest RugbyPass All Access

But for Edinburgh’s 56-3 capitulation away to Racing, the scoreline in Llanelli would have been the heaviest Champions Cup losing margin in the round of 16 and Scarlets chairman Simon Muderack has now explained why a team that included the likes of Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Gareth Davies, Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies looked so out of sorts against their Gallagher Premiership visitors.  

“There are no excuses but there is no doubt that the re-integration of international players coming back from international camp is a huge challenge,” said Muderack on the latest edition of the BBC’s Scrum V podcast.  

“Tom Curry was the only player coming back into the Sale squad. We had eight come back into the squad. They come back from Wales camp – for all the right reasons – pretty tired and they are decompressing. We had a couple of weeks to deal with that but it takes a run of games before you can build that cohesiveness back up again.


“We had boys on the field on Sunday who were calling Welsh team calls as opposed to Scarlets calls. They were getting confused. Those are the things that can happen when you’re under pressure and re-adjusting back into a new environment… those things tend to happen more when you’re under pressure.”


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