Thumping by Cardiff raises questions over Pivac’s men’s performance

Happy at club: Scarlets prop Rob Evans
Bad start: Pre-match fireworks brought a fog over the pitch

A brace of tries from Rey Lee-Lo helped Cardiff Blues to a thumping 34-5 win over Scarlets in their festive derby this evening, Saturday (Dec 29).

The defeat ended the Scarlets hopes of setting a new Pro14 record after a 27-month unbeaten home run.

Commentators and pundits on BBC Radio Wales added their tuppence worth questioning the role Pivac’s announcement to leave the club had made on the moral of the players.

Speaking after the game former Dragons player Wayne Evans said that he believed Pivac’s announcement along with the fact that Stephen Jones was also leaving the club may have led the players to sub consciously ease off.

Following remarks by the commentator Ian Hunt that the mist was a metaphor for the Scarlets season and that they were lost in a fog, Evans  said: “Who knows, it is one of the poorest nights I have seen down here in Llanelli for a long time. We don’t expect that from the Scarlets especially at home, a home performance like that. Their home record has been so good over the past few years. It is the effort for me. Manchester United a couple of weeks ago the players stopped playing for Jose Mourinho. My question is are they stopping playing for Pivac because they know he is going?

“In sport in general it is quite an odd thing that a manager,  a head coach to come out and say ah right, I’m leaving you in 12 months time but I’m here til then. And are we seeing those problems on the field?”

The commentator Ian Hunt asked: “So you think it is the Pivac factor? The fact that he is going maybe subconsciously not consciously there’s something there that’s telling them, well, he’s off at the end of the season so we can ease off maybe or is it just subconscious?”

Evans responded: “Yeah potentially and it has come out recently that Stephen Jones is going as well now, um, I don’t think they know who’s coming in. They’ve got to have question marks in their heads, the players and it is definitely causing an effect.”

In the game Lloyd Williams and Gareth Anscombe crossed for the Blues with Anscombe adding 14 points with the boot.

The home side’s only score came from winger Johnny McNicholl, who went over for a first-half try.

Listen to Wayne Pivac’s post match analysis here:

The opening five minutes of the match was played in heavy smoke following pre-match fireworks.

The smoke soon cleared as Anscombe opened the scoring with a penalty kick, shortly afterwards scrum-half Williams went over for the first try with Anscombe adding the extras.

Scarlets responded well with McNicholl running over unopposed to score their only try of the evening.

On form: Gareth Anscombe

Lee-Lo scored the first of his brace just after the hour-mark and his second came in the 75th minute after intercepting a loose Scarlets pass to race in under the posts.

In the final minute Anscombe added insult to injury with a second intercepted try, claiming the four try bonus-point for the visitors, much to the delight of the travelling fans at Parc Y Scarlets.

The injury list continues to grow for Wayne Pivac’s side with centre Kieron Fonotia and flanker James Davies going off injured along with the late withdrawal of Leigh Halfpenny before kick-off.

Final score: Scarlets 5 – 34 Cardiff Blues

Man of the Match: Josh Turnbull (Cardiff Blues)

Blues remain fifth in Conference A while defeat for the Scarlets moves them down to fourth in Conference B.

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