Scott’s sure underdogs will seize the day in Dublin
SCOTT Williams is confident the Scarlets are a good bet to overcome the odds against Leinster and ruin plans for an all-Irish Champions Cup final.
The bookies have made Wayne Pivac’s side significant underdogs for Saturday’s European semifinal at the Aviva Stadium, despite the Scarlets going to Dublin and beating Leinster last season.
Centre Williams admits being written off has stoked the Scarlets’ fires as they aim to become the first Welsh region to be crowned champions of Europe.
“Yes, it has annoyed us,” the 27-year-old told The
Rugby Paper. “It was the same last year when nobody expected us to win, but we knew we could do it. The bookies have ruled us out completely.
“We can’t gamble ourselves as players, but I think we are 5/1 to beat Leinster and 9/1 to win the whole competition. If I had £20 spare I’d definitely put it on us beating Leinster and winning the whole thing.”
After 11 years of service to the Scarlets, Williams will switch to Ospreys in the summer, but with his current employers still fighting for both European and PRO14 glory, the Newcastle Emlyn product is hopeful of a dream send off.
“Growing up supporting and watching the Scarlets, there was only one thing I ever wanted to do and that was to be a professional rugby player with them,” Williams said.
“We want to win both competitions and we can do that. We’ve fronted up in the big games over the last few seasons and we now really thrive on those challenges. There’s no damage limitation involved with us, we are going out there to win and we are confident we can do that.
“If we play the way we know we can, as we did against Bath for example, then we can beat Leinster. It would be a nice way to finish my stint here by winning the double.”
Despite having every confidence in his side’s ability, Williams respects the quality three-time European champions Leinster have in their ranks but says his team is not fazed by the prospect of playing at the Aviva.
He added: “It’s not exactly a neutral venue – it’s basically Leinster’s home ground – but we went to their home patch in the semi-final last year and won.
“They’ve got some outstanding players and, more importantly, players who are playing well. Johnny Sexton is their go-to guy and controls the way they play. Hopefully he has an off-day but it’s about making sure we execute the way we want to play and focus on ourselves.
“It might be raining so we may have to revert to a tighter game so it’s about being smart and making the right call at the time.”
Munster and Racing 92 complete the Champions Cup’s last four, but when asked if there will be an allIreland final, Williams gave a simple response: “No.”
Hoping to sign off in style: Scott Williams