This Week’s Scarlets News

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It’s been an eventful week so far at the Scarlets with the announcement on Monday that Crusaders’ Assistant Coach, Brad Mooar, will replace fellow Kiwi Wayne Pivac as Scarlets’ Head Coach.
The 44-year-old, who is a qualified solicitor brings with him a wealth of coaching experience but has also been hailed for his inspirational leadership and excellent management skills off the pitch.
Scarlets General Manager of Rugby, Jon Daniels commented, “After a detailed and comprehensive search we are delighted to have secured an exceptional coach in Brad. As part of our recruitment process we have taken extensive references on all candidates and what came through loud and clear on Brad was that he is one of New Zealand’s best coaching prospects and destined for greater things.”
Mooar has been Assistant Coach at the Crusaders for the past three seasons. Previously, he was Head Coach at Mitre 10 Cup side Southern Stags and Attack and Backs Coach with Eastern Province Kings and Southern Kings in South Africa.
Brad Mooar commented, “The opportunity to take on the role of Head Coach at the Scarlets is simply too good to pass up and is both an exciting challenge for myself, and a fantastic opportunity for my family to experience life on the other side of the world.”
“He’s coming over from the Crusaders which is the best franchise in Super Rugby and has been consistently over the years,” added Wayne Pivac. “He’s working with All Blacks day in, day out, very similar to what we have to deal with here with International Players.”
“I think he’ll do a very good job,” continued Pivac, “Personality wise he’ll fit in really, really well. He’s very astute and the rugby conversations he’s had with our coaching group have been very good ones.”
“He’ll slip in here,” added Pivac. “He has a similar thinking in terms of the way we play the game, he’s a smart bloke, he won’t rush things, he’ll look at things and will eventually put his stamp on things.”
Pivac’s enthusiasm was echoed by Hadleigh Parkes who has known Mooar for a long time, revealing that Brad and Wayne happened to have sat on the same table at Hadleigh’s wedding reception in the summer.
“He was my Coach down in Christchurch, then he was my agent and then he fulfilled his dream to coach” Hadleigh revealed. Their paths crossed again in South Africa with the Kings.
“I think he’ll enjoy coaching over here and he’ll bring something a bit different to the club as well,” continued Parkes.
Mooar has already visited the club during the summer whilst over for a wedding and has plans to pay another visit in the next couple of weeks where he will get the opportunity to meet the players properly along with the backroom staff, with assurances from Pivac that there will be a ‘good handover period.’
With the immediate future now sorted, apart of course for the uncertainly as to whether Stephen Jones will follow Pivac to Wales, the focus is firmly on attempting to resurrect this season’s Champions Cup campaign on Friday evening against Ulster.
Faced with a similar position as last season, these back to back fixtures are knock-out rugby if the Scarlets have any hope of reaching the play-off stages this campaign.
Unfortunately, the region is unable to build any momentum from the fixture against Glasgow with Pivac admitting that they weren’t happy with the attack, defence, set piece – everything from A-Z! However, an extended classroom session yesterday resulted in the whole squad eager to put in a solid performance, one that everyone can be proud of.
Pivac revealed that so far, the preparation is going well, ensuring that the squad are mentally prepared to respond to the pressure on Friday, with Captain, Ken Owens adding that despite being disappointed with the start, they are fully aware of the challenge ahead and need to get both the consistency back and also to be confident in what they do.
Sadly, Leigh Halfpenny is ruled out for Friday night as he is continuing with his HIA protocols. Blade Thomson is not expected to feature until the Festive Derbies as he has been given a break following the Super Rugby season.
The good news is that Jake Ball, who left the pitch last week after being on the receiving end of a dangerous tackle that saw Prop, Allan receive a red car, is back running and is so far completing his HIA without any problems. If this continues, he will be available for the weekend.
Both Samson Lee and James Davies are now back in full training. Lee is ‘flying’ in his rehabilitation of his hamstring injury and will be available, whilst Davies came through full contract training this morning and will be monitored the rest of the week. He too could be in contention for a return depending on how he responds.
Ed Kennedy is also back in training as he works through HIA protocols but is unlikely to feature this week.

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