Scarlets coach Simon Easterby faces 'big decision' - Phil Bennett

Scarlets president Phil Bennett says head coach Simon Easterby faces a difficult choice if he is offered the position of Ireland forwards coach.

Former Ireland flanker Easterby is wanted by head coach Joe Schmidt, according to media reports.

John Plumtree has stepped down from the role to return to New Zealand and Wales great Bennett says losing Easterby would be a big blow for the Scarlets.

"It's a huge loss if he were to go," Bennett said.

"It's a big decision for Simon Easterby to make and it's a vital one for the Scarlets.

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To lose Simon Easterby now would be a huge blow

Phil Bennett Scarlets president

"But what a chance it would be for him if he was to take the Ireland job, the chance to coach some world-class forwards, and next year the World Cup comes about."

"I'm sure if Simon were to go he'd go with the blessing of the town because he was a true great player."

Easterby joined Llanelli from Leeds Carnegie in 1999 and captained the Scarlets before joining the region's coaching set-up.

Harrogate-born Easterby was appointed Scarlets head coach in June 2012 following the departure of Nigel Davies to Gloucester.

Scarlets' coaching team has seen a number of changes during recent months with forwards coach Danny Wilson joining Bristol for next season.

New Zealander Wayne Pivac will join the Scarlets as assistant coach ahead of the 2014-2015 season.

"To lose Simon Easterby now would be a huge blow because Danny Wilson's gone to Bristol, the fitness coach [Brad Harrington] has gone to coach back in Australia.," former Wales and Llanelli fly-half Bennett said.

"Really you're only left with one guy at the moment, and that's Mark Jones. So really to lose Simon Easterby would be a massive blow.

"In life everybody has to move on.

"So it's going to be very interesting and as I say, Llanelli is abuzz with the story. Is Simon going to go, or is he going to say as Scarlets coach?"