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Scarlets brace for triple blow

Tue, 04 Dec 2012 14:35
Simon-easterby630

Scarlets coach Simon Easterby admits he is likely to be without a trio of Wales stars for his team's crucial European Cup matches with Exeter Chiefs.

The Welsh region face the English club twice in consecutive weeks, kicking off at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

Both sides have little hope of progressing from Pool Five and need to win the clashes to keep any chance alive.

Easterby will welcome back his international stars on Tuesday, but expects to be shorn of the key trio of George North, Josh Turnbull and Rob McCusker.

"We will try to get as many of the boys back into the squad as we can without changing too much," said Easterby.

"We will still be missing some players but hopefully we can pick a strong squad for a game that we have to win.

"George is probably going to be a couple of weeks and Rob and Josh won't be available - again we're looking at a couple of weeks. There are a lot of players we are desperate to get back."

But Easterby will still have the likes of Matthew Rees, Tavis Knoyle, Rhys Priestland and Jon Davies back at his disposal.

Liam Williams and Aaron Shingler will also be available and Easterby was particularly impressed with the international newcomers' autumn.

"I was impressed but not surprised," said Easterby.

"They have gone really well for us, we have a lot of faith in them and they've shown some regional form in the national jersey."

The Scarlets go into the clash on the back of a disappointing defeat at the hands of Ulster.

Easterby was frustrated by the home loss and he insists his side must improve ahead of facing the Chiefs.

"There are no excuses," said the Scarlets head coach. "Ulster didn't have everyone back and we were at home, coming off a good win over Munster.

"We lacked accuracy in certain areas and put ourselves under pressure.

"Exeter won't be too dissimilar to Ulster. They have a good forward pack, they're winning a lot of rugby and will come here with plenty of confidence.

"They're a good team and we will have to be a lot better than we were on Sunday."

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