Rhys Thomas might be recovering from heart surgery – but Scarlets boss Nigel Davies admitted the prop still had a massive influence over his side’s 27-19 Anglo-Welsh Cup win over London Irish.
Davies visited the 29-year-old in the run up to the Exiles clash and the prop, despite recovering from an operation, still passed on his best to his Scarlets teammates.
Thomas has featured 11 times for the Scarlets in the RaboDirect PRO12 so far this season, his last appearance coming against the Glasgow Warriors at the start of January before his heart problem was discovered.
And the prop’s sentiments to Davies definitely had an impact on the Welsh region who – despite missing 11 internationals – went on to secure a win that saw them put one foot in the semi-finals for the first time.
And the Scarlets boss admitted Thomas had certainly influenced his side – suggesting the game might have been the best performance of his tenure.
“It's been a tough few days,” said Davies. “I went to see Rhys before the game and he is not great, he is recovering but he did say to wish the boys all the best, and I passed that on to the boys, and they certainly delivered for him.
“This game and last week's win in Castres have been fantastic squad efforts and show the depth we have and how that's building.
“That was as strong a team as Irish could put out and we showed a lot of resilience and spirit, and when opportunities came we took them. That was the best squad performance that we have been able to put out, going back maybe to even a long time before I was here.”