Don’t write Scarlets off yet: Stephen Jones

Nobody knows better than Stephen Jones how hard it is to win in Perpignan. He was in the Scarlets side that lost 34-17 in the quarter-finals at Stade Aime Giral in 1997 and then in a Pool match, 42-10, in 2002.

In fact, the Welsh outside half will be making his sixth appearance against the French heavyweights for the Scarlets when his side travels across the Channel to try to secure the five points they need to try to clinch a place in the last eight of either the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup.

In Round 1 the Scarlets notched a fabulous bonus point victory, 43-34, at Parc y Scarlets, but last weekend’s 32-18 home defeat by Leicester Tigers has left them with everything to do in this weekend’s final Pool outing.

“It is still possible to go forward in the competition and we will be looking forward to the game in Perpignan,” he said.

“They are a very powerful and positive side, but we will throw everything we have got at them,” added Jones, who scored 28 points in the first meeting this season.

“We enjoy the style we are playing and there will be no point in playing low risk rugby. We need to go out there to try to express ourselves.

“We had a really good go at Leicester in the first-half and we attacked them in the right areas.

“We got some offloads in the tackle and we were enjoying ourselves, but the second half was a different game altogether.”

Scarlets skipper Matthew Rees is another who has not given up hope of either going through to the Heineken Cup quarters or reaching a second successive Amlin Challenge Cup final eight.

And with both finals being staged in Cardiff this season there is huge incentive for the west Wales side to mount one final effort.

“It is going to be a difficult challenge, but we have got another opportunity to front up in this Pool and we will do that in Perpignan,” he said.

“They did a good job on Leicester when they went there and got a bonus point against Benetton Treviso.

“It is gong to be difficult, but after a few days off we will be ready to move on.”

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