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Jones proud of Scarlets production line

Guinness PRO12 Editor

15 Aug 2011

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Boasting the league’s second best attack last term and ten members of the Welsh World Cup training squad, Scarlets attack coach Mark Jones has every reason to be satisfied with his young side’s progress.

 

But while the former Wales wing has his sights set on an even more prolific season this time around, he admits Scarlets could pay the price of success in the first few weeks of the RaboDirect Pro12.

Scarlets kick off their season at home to Aironi in three weeks without established internationals Stephen Jones, Jonathan Davies, Rhys Priestland and George North with potentially four others who will be involved in New Zealand.

Hooker Matthew Rees and full-back Morgan Stoddart will also miss chunks of the season after being injured on international duty.

But that Jones argues is a sacrifice worth making for being a part of the production line of Welsh talent.

“We’re really pleased with how the young guys are coming through and we were really dangerous last season,” said Jones who was forced to retire with a knee injury in 2010.

“That success has led to lots of the lads being called up to the Welsh squad, which is great news.

“But it means we are going to have to cope during the first few games without several players, and it’s up to us to find the guys to step up.

“The aim this season will be to break into that top four and the play-offs after just missing out last season.

“We did well in the Heineken Cup as well, beating Perpignan and pushing Leicester hard, and I think it shows we are an up-and-coming side.”

Jones admits the Scarlets have struggled in recent seasons to match the exploits of the Llanelli sides at the turn of the millennium.

But with the young talent coming through, he expects the West Walians to return to the heights which saw them reach three Heineken Cup semi-finals.

He added: “We’ve being going through a bit of a rebuilding phase, which was inevitable with the number of older players moving on.

“But the young guys really made their mark last season, and the future is looking bright at the moment.

“What we have to do now is make sure we keep bringing these guys through and back up the promise of last year.”