ERCC: Scarlets v Bath Rugby Preview

Scarlets host Bath Rugby on the 20th of October at the Parc Y Scarlets stadium.

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Scarlets v Bath Rugby | 20 October 20h45 | Parc Y Scarlets

To Win Match (80min)
Scarlets 2/7 | Draw 28/1 | Bath 47/20
Scarlets 9/10 (-6.5) | Bath 9/10 

The Scarlets should have too much X-Factor amongst their backs for Bath to handle this Friday. While there were questions raised over their aptitude amongst the forwards – particularly in their narrow loss at Toulon on the weekend, the Welshmen will still have more than enough mettle to win at the Parc Y Scarlets.

Their disappointing first-half showing aside, last season’s Pro12 champions showed great heart and tenacity to battle back from an 18-3 deficit to even lead their hosts 20-18 at one stage. The Scarlet forwards battled to live with the intensity and physicality of Toulon for the first 40, but the way in which their backline stepped up in the second stanza was something to be admired. Despite their eventual 21-20 loss, the fact that Wayne Pivac’s men managed to grab a bonus-point may prove vital later on in the competition.

One man who was talismanic for his side in the second-half was ex-Toulon man Leigh Halfpenny. The diminutive Lions fullback overcame a wobbly start to lead the Scarlet fightback and was seriously unlucky to end up on the losing side at the final whistle. Halfpenny will again be expected to play a seismic role this Friday if his boys are to overcome Bath, but there is no doubt that he will be up for the challenge.

Scarlets will be seeking a full 80-minute performance, and will seriously need their forwards to fire from the get-go. Bath are another formidably physical outfit but, should the home side manage to meet their English counterparts head-on, the pace and skill in their backs will take them to victory.

Bath Rugby
Despite a promising start to their domestic campaign, which included a 31-21 victory over the mighty Saracens, Bath have blown hot and cold this season. Defeats to Newcastle at home and Northampton away have blighted their start, but it is still early days and they have plenty of time to pull themselves together.

Their 23-0 win over Benetton on Saturday was reasonably academic, however, the fact that they failed to secure a bonus-point may come back to bite them in a group that consists of the likes of Toulon and Scarlets. Bath will be encouraged by the performance of the Toulon pack and will look to similarly take the fight to their Welsh opponents starting up front. If they rattle their hosts early on, they will be well in the game.

Bath may, however, be without one of their most influential talents in the forwards. Flanker Francois Louw was caught up in a nasty off-the-ball incident involving Benetton lock Marco Fuser, where it appeared that the 54-capped Springbok eye-gouged his opponent. Considering England prop Kyle Sinckler was recently handed a seven-match ban for committing a similar offence, it would seem that things don’t look too promising for Louw at present.

Verdict: Scarlets
If they man up up-front, Scarlets will be allowed the licence to thrill this Friday evening. With the likes of Halfpenny, Scott Williams and Johnny McNicholl in the backs, they will dazzle their way to victory.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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