Professional14 closing: Scarlets and Leinster present a becoming closing
|Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 26 Could Kick-off: 18:00 BST|
|Protection: Reside on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport web site and BBC Sport app.|
It’s in some ways the dream Professional14 closing.
The match’s defending champions towards the newly-crowned European kings. Scarlets and Leinster going face to face on the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
One aspect is trying to retain their title, the opposite aiming to turn out to be the primary staff to attain the European Cup and Professional14 double in the identical season.
So the stage is ready.
Banishing the demons
Scarlets’ first take a look at shall be to erase the reminiscences of shedding to the identical opposition on the similar venue only a month in the past.
And never simply shedding. Wayne Pivac’s aspect had been humbled by the Leinster energy, with the Irish aspect celebrating a convincing 38-16 win within the Champions Cup semi-final.
Leinster had been brutally sensible that day. They outmuscled and out-thought a surprised Scarlets aspect who had travelled to Eire with reasonable expectations of victory.
The fearsome forwards laid the inspiration and Eire and British and Irish Lions outside-half Johnny Sexton pulled the strings behind.
It was a harsh lesson cruelly realized because the Scarlets’ European dream got here crashing down and Pivac hopes historical past is not going to repeat itself this weekend.
“We’ve to fireplace some photographs this time, it is so simple as that,” mentioned Pivac.
“We had been utterly outplayed. We’ve to attempt to win the gainline and collisions.
“We’ve to be much more bodily than we had been. They beat us throughout the park final time round.
“We have to ensure we deliver the physicality that was missing in that semi-final and are within the contest for longer durations than we had been.
“I might be shocked if the boys do not make a greater fist of it than the final time.”
‘Damaged’ after semi-final
Some soul looking adopted earlier than the Scarlets squad regrouped. Three victories towards Dragons, Cheetahs and Glasgow have adopted on the best way to a second successive Professional14 closing.
Burns and blisters adopted within the semi-final win on the substitute floor at Glasgow, however the Scarlets are revived forward of the showpiece finale as they bid to turn out to be solely the second aspect to retain the title.
Predictably, the one staff to have achieved back-to-back titles within the competitors are Leinster in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
“We’re feeling good by way of petrol within the tank and mentally nice,” mentioned Pivac.
“We have come via that run in Europe in addition to the Professional14. We’re in a stronger psychological state than we had been this time final yr.”
Wales wing Steff Evans summed up the Scarlets revival: “We had been damaged after that semi-final defeat however since then we’ve been constructing again to the place we had been.
“After the Leinster loss, we obtained collectively in a staff assembly and mentioned we’ve to get the assumption again.
“The reminiscences are caught within the boys’ heads. That is motivation to get on the market and proper the wrongs of Europe.”
Leinster haven’t been resting on their laurels since overpowering the Scarlets. The Irish province have lifted the European crown and defeated Munster within the Professional14 semi-final as they stayed on target for a double.
“You do not undergo unbeaten in Europe with out being a category act, we’re speaking world class,” mentioned Pivac.
“You have simply obtained to take a look at what number of Irish gamers they have of their aspect who’ve simply gained a Grand Slam.
“It is a huge problem however an incredible recreation. Final yr’s champions up towards the European winners.
“What a match-up. If you wish to win, you need to beat the very best.
“We’re getting that chance this weekend.”
Leinster are once more taking part in an enormous closing of their residence metropolis of Dublin, albeit on the nationwide Aviva Stadium fairly than their Royal Dublin Showground residence.
Though it won’t strictly be a ‘impartial’ venue, Dublin has additionally been a haven for Scarlets – particularly final yr the place they gained twice to clinch the title.
They defeated Leinster within the semi-final on the RDS earlier than overawing Munster on the Aviva to immediate wild celebrations.
It represented a outstanding run within the spring sunshine with the superior attacking recreation typified by outrageous offloads and scything line breaks.
“It took a little bit of time to develop our recreation final yr,” mentioned Pivac.
“Then the climate comes and you’ll play extra expansive rugby.
“In the event you have a look at our run now it has been constructing properly, so we’re in an analogous place to final yr.
“We have a special opponent within the closing, that is the problem.”
That opponent is a formidable Leinster aspect aiming for the second trophy in Could.
Head coach Leo Cullen believes his aspect should match their Dublin drubbing of the Scarlets in European competitors as the 2 groups put together to face one another for a seventh time in 18 months.
“Our guys had been scientific that day,” mentioned Cullen.
“The Scarlets would have realized just a few classes about how they managed the ball and the pace of ours.
“We all know the threats the Scarlets pose. Each groups know one another properly so the little particulars shall be essential.
“They induced us an enormous quantity of ache within the semi-final on the RDS final yr.
“For us, that is the sport. It is the one we have been working in the direction of all season, it is time we ship.”
Get these little particulars proper and Cullen, Stuart Lancaster – the previous England coach introduced onto the Leinster teaching workers – and the star-studded squad could possibly be celebrating an historic double.
“That will be a testomony to the quantity of labor that goes in right here,” mentioned Cullen.
“Everybody has labored extremely exhausting to get the group again to this degree.
“We need to be certain we do every part in our energy to offer ourselves the very best likelihood to win on Saturday.”
Leinster simply have the little matter of the defending champions standing of their method.