PI­VAC BLASTS ‘ARCHAIC’ RULE

Carmarthen Journal - - Midweek Sport -

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

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