Scarlets coach Simon Easterby targets Pro12 play-offs

Simon Easterby

New coach Simon Easterby has set his Scarlets side the target of a play-off place in this season's Pro12 League.

The Scarlets have finished fifth the last two seasons, narrowly missing out on a top four play-off spot.

Easterby, who replaced Nigel Davies as head coach at Parc Y Scarlets this summer, wants to put that right.

"We have had a couple of decent seasons but not made the play-offs and that is the challenge for us in the Rabodirect Pro12," said Easterby.

"That has to be our aim, along with consistency in performance and getting results. Last year we probably slipped up in a couple of games and that cost us in the end."

Easterby's side completed their preparations for the new season with a 23-17 friendly win over London Welsh at Parc y Scarlets.

The Scarlets have yet to reach the end of season play-off since they were introduced in the 2009-10 season. They were four points short last season and two short the season before.

And Easterby said: "To a man all the players feel that isn't quite good enough.

"We watched the semi-finals last year, thinking we should have been there but we weren't and there is a reason for that and we have to make sure there are no excuses come the end of this season."

The Scarlets have seen some major changes taken place during the off-season with Easterby replacing Davies and a new forwards coach, Danny Wilson, joining from the Newport Gwent Dragons. Forwards coach Vernon Cooper and scrum coach Danny Wilson have both left.

The Scarlets have seen a host of key and experienced players leave in the summer, including Wales and Lions fly-half Stephen Jones, who has signed for London Wasps, England No 8 Ben Morgan, who has joined Gloucester, and Scotland wing Sean Lamont who returned home with Glasgow.

Second rows Lou Reed (Cardiff Blues), Dominic Day (Bath), and Damian Welsh (Exeter) have all departed, while props Iestyn Thomas and Rhys Thomas have both retired due injury and illness.

The Scarlets have drafted utility back Gareth Owen and wing Kristian Phillips from rivals the Ospreys amd signed George Earle from the Cheetahs in South Africa, Tomás Vallejos of Harlequins and Jake Bell from the Western Force in Australia.