McCusker: time for Scarlets to deliver on potential

Guinness PRO12 Editor

28 Aug 2012


Captain Rob McCusker admits he’s desperate for people to stop talking about the Scarlets’ potential and to see his side to start actually delivering on their promise.


Under Nigel Davies, the Scarlets won plenty of plaudits for their fast, attractive rugby achieved with a side made up of several promising youngsters.

However last season the Scarlets missed out on a place in the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs by three points and the year before just one point separated them from the top four.

And flanker McCusker, 26, hopes that under new boss Simon Easterby, the Scarlets can develop a clinical edge he believes has been lacking in the last two years.

He said: “We can be a young team for only so long. A lot of guys have played a lot of rugby now and international rugby as well.

“It is scary when you look at someone like George North and what he has achieved in the last 18 months. We are building an experienced team so it is time we put that all to fruition and started getting results and silverware.

“We were disappointed in the last couple of years to miss out on play-off places by a couple of points so we are eager to get into that top four by the end of the season and then the semi-final is a one-off place.

“We have identified areas where we fell down last season and certain game cost us points that would impact our final place.

“Little lapses in concentration, especially towards the end of games in terms of discipline, have hurt us.

“People switching off has cost us dearly and we are keen to rectify that and put a consistent season together.

“You see the teams that are competing consistently at the top and they are not making those silly mistakes. They are able to execute as and when required. If we can up with those standards and the way we play rugby we will be very tough to beat.”

Easterby was already part of the Scarlets’ coaching set-up under Davies and has stepped up to the hotseat after the latter’s departure to take charge of Gloucester.

And McCusker, who has retained the captaincy from last season, confirmed it has been a case of evolution rather than revolution.

 “It has been a smooth transition with new real interruptions carrying on from where we left off last year,” he added.

“Simon is pretty laidback and mellow really. It must have been pretty difficult for him to adjust as the head honcho but he’s done really well. Everything he wanted to be put in place is sorted now. There have not been massive changes.

“We are ambitious. Our bodies are fresh at the moments and our minds equally, hopefully it will rub off at the start of the season.”


O’Connor looking for European response from Ulster

Alan O’Connor is hoping he and his Ulster team-mates can give a better account of themselves on the European stage when Exeter Chiefs come to town on Saturday. Ulster’s European adventure this season got off to a disappointing start as the Guinness PRO12 leaders were downed 28-13 by Bordeaux Bègles on Sunday. But the Ulstermen […]