PIVAC BLASTS ‘ARCHAIC’ RULE
THE Scarlets have hit out at the ‘archaic’ ruling that prevents them from drafting in emergency injury cover for their remaining European Champions Cup pool matches.
The West Walians are set to take on Leicester Tigers in Llanelli on Saturday without six injured back-row forwards.
For last Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 win over the Dragons, Wales hooker Ken Owens was asked to play No. 8 for the first time in his professional career.
Former Wales Under-20s skipper Tom Phillips, who has only just returned from a concussion absence, did come off the bench and Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac was hoping to use him again this weekend.
But the fact he wasn’t named in the region’s original 41-man squad for the tournament and that the Scarlets have already used up their quota of call-ups from outside the squad means Phillips is not eligible to feature.
Competition rules state that each club can register up to three additional players during the pool stages.
If a club does that, one must be a front-row player.
The Scarlets have already drafted in second row Tom Price and flanker Dan Davis during the course of an injury-hit campaign, which leaves them with limited options and the likelihood of Owens having to play at eight again for the clash with the Tigers.
“Unfortunately, Tom can’t play in Europe because we have used all our injury cards,” said Pivac.
“It is an archaic system that needs to be looked at.
“I understand why they do it, but we have a guy ranked in our loose forwards who has been at the club all his life and he can’t play.
“We have got six injuries and we will have to play players out of position and put them at risk.
“I think it is something at the end of the season we will definitely want to discuss.
“We have already asked the question in the last round and were turned down so there is no point in going there again.”
Earlier in the campaign, Newcastle boss Dean Richards attacked the decision of tournament organisers EPCR not to allow him to draft in a specialist tight-head prop after the Tuesday deadline for each round.
The Falcons ended up having play a loose-head in that position.
The Scarlets, beaten semi-finalists last season, have lost all four of their pool matches this term.
They entertain Leicester at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday before bringing their campaign to a close with a daunting trip to Paris the following weekend to take on pool leaders Racing 92. to