Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams has backed the Scarlets to go all the way in the European Champions Cup ahead of their quarter-final clash with La Rochelle in Llanelli on Friday.
Wayne Pivac’s men qualified for the last eight as the winners of a pool that also featured Toulon, Bath and Benetton, overcoming the French giants at Parc y Scarlets in their final round-robin fixture to clinch top spot.
The Scarlets now welcome another Top 14 side to west Wales, hoping to reach the last four of Europe’s premier rugby competition for the first time since 2007, when they were beaten to a place in the final by Leicester Tigers.
And former Ospreys wing Williams, who won 87 caps for Wales, believes the last remaining Welsh region in the competition could be celebrating at the final in Bilbao in May.
“I think they’ve played good enough rugby to win it,” he told Omnisport
“They’re certainly leading by example in attacking rugby – that’s not just in Wales, that’s throughout Europe.
“They’ve got a home game now against La Rochelle and I think they’ll be very difficult to beat down in Parc y Scarlets.
“And after they’ve won that, then who knows?
“When you get to that stage, you’re there for a reason. It’s because you’re a contender.
“I’d like to think they’re good enough. I don’t think they’re there to make up the numbers and they should have massive confidence going forward.”
— Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 26, 2018
Williams added that Wales’ reliance on a sizeable contingent of Scarlets stars during their Six Nations campaign can only be of benefit to the players on their return to European club rugby.
“When you’re playing for your country, it gives you massive confidence,” he commented. “To go back to your club and continue the rugby, it gives you a boost.
“International rugby is a step up from any other rugby out there, so psychologically, if you know you can do it at senior international level, then going back to your club should be easier. Not that it is, but having that kind of mindset isn’t a bad thing.
“Going back to your club and taking the same attitude and positivity with you can only be a good thing.”
With Rugby World Cup 2019 on the horizon, Shane tackles the best Japan has to offer in his online series Shane Williams: Big In Japan https://www.facebook.com/shanebiginjapan
To discover the wonders of Japan for yourself: http://visitjapan2019.com/ #EndlessDiscovery
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