Quin­nell: Scar­lets can do a Liver­pool

The Rugby Paper - - Front Page - By PETER JACK­SON

THE Scar­lets are be­ing backed to make his­tory this week by do­ing to Le­in­ster in the Cham­pi­ons’ Cup what Liver­pool did to Manch­ester City in the Cham­pi­ons’ League.

The pre­dic­tion that Scar­lets are ready to defy the odds against No.1 seeds Le­in­ster in Dublin on Satur­day comes from one of their most fa­mous for­mer play­ers, Scott Quin­nell. A Liver­pool fan, the Sky TV pundit be­lieves foot­balling his­tory can re­peat it­self.

“Le­in­ster will be huge favourites but in sport there are oc­ca­sions when you look at an im­pres­sive team on the up and you think: ‘It’s your time’,” Quin­nell said.

“The Scar­lets have been ab­so­lutely mag­nif­i­cent in their style of rugby. I think their time has come.

“We’ve just seen in foot­ball how an un­fan­cied team in red beat a fan­cied one in

blue. If it can hap­pen in the Cham­pi­ons’ League, then it can hap­pen in the Cham­pi­ons’ Cup.

“Le­in­ster are one of the best in Europe, if not the best but then they said that about Manch­ester City. Liver­pool were the un­der­dogs and look what they did to them. So why not dream?

“Every­one is talk­ing about Le­in­ster be­ing at home and about the amaz­ing depth of their squad but we re­mem­ber how the Scar­lets went to the RDS in the semi-fi­nals of the PRO12 last sea­son and won with a fair bit to spare. They were ab­so­lutely mag­nif­i­cent.

“Since then the Scar­lets have added more steel to their game. They have learnt that there are times when it’s wise to hold the reins back a bit to en­sure they stay in con­trol and they’ve been all the bet­ter for that.

“Their all-ac­tion game is bril­liant and they will come fly­ing out of the traps against Le­in­ster. I was only a month old when Llanelli beat the All Blacks in 1972 so I don’t re­mem­ber it.

“Now I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing this in front of 50,000 peo­ple. It will be a fan­tas­tic oc­ca­sion and I think I’ll need an ice-pack to cool my­self down!’’

No Welsh team has been to the fi­nal of Europe’s premier tour­na­ment since Cardiff lost to Toulouse dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral sea­son 22 years ago. Since then only the Scar­lets have been to three semi-fi­nals and lost them all.

Dafydd James, the for­mer Wales and Lions wing who played in two of those los­ing semis, said: “We’ve come so close so of­ten to win­ning the Euro­pean Cup that it would be won­der­ful for the whole of Welsh rugby if they go all the way and win the tro­phy. I hope they go out and at­tack them.

“They will cause prob­lems but Le­in­ster in Dublin is the tough­est ask of all but the Scar­lets put in a great per­for­mance in beat­ing Glas­gow last week.

“It will be very close but my fear is that they will have a lit­tle more strength.’’

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