European Champions Cup: Williams issues Scarlets 'reality check'

Scarlets captain Ken Owens and Ospreys counterpart Alun Wyn Jones will lead their teams at the weekend
Scarlets captain Ken Owens and Ospreys counterpart Alun Wyn Jones hope their teams reach the knock-out stages

Former Wales flanker Martyn Williams says Scarlets must face the reality of not yet having qualified for the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Scarlets' stunning win at Bath last Friday set them up for a Pool decider against Toulon on Saturday, 20 January.

"The reality check for the Scarlets is they have not qualified yet," said Williams.

Ospreys go to Clermont Auvergne with the advantage of no-one expecting them to win and qualify.

Former Wales flanker Williams told the Scrum V Podcast: "As an Ospreys player it is a great place to go on the weekend.

"You will have a bit of confidence and drawn with Saracens.

"Nobody expects you to win at Clermont.

"Clermont are the favourites but the Ospreys have the players and if [Dan] Biggar and [Rhys] Webb can fire and they can match them up front, which they managed against Saracens after mullering their pack, then why can't they win."

Beware the Toulon pack

Scarlets' bonus-point win at Bath was the highlight of Europe's games last weekend, but Williams believes they should be wary of Toulon's forward power.

"I am sure Scarlets will have enjoyed the fantastic win against Bath last weekend and it's great when you have a win like that," said Williams.

"I am sure they turned up this week and said they haven't achieved anything yet. It would be such an anti-climax if Toulon turned up on Saturday and won.

"It is not the Toulon of a couple of years ago with [Matt] Giteau and Jonny Wilkinson turning up and pulling the strings, but they still have some rock stars there.

"I still think with the momentum the Scarlets have got, I fancy them to win at home.

"I hope it's a dry day because as good as the Scarlets pack is if it's wet and greasy conditions, Toulon have a big heavy pack and would thrive on greasy conditions.

"It should be a full house because if you don't want to watch that you don't like rugby."

Williams added: "Whatever happens this weekend you have to give the Scarlets and Ospreys massive kudos for being involved because their wage bill compared to some sides like Toulon, Bath, Clermont and Saracens.

Challenge Cup 'wide open' for Blues

Gareth Anscombe is halted by the Toulouse defence
Gareth Anscombe starred in Cardiff Blues' win over Toulouse in round five

The former British and Irish Lions, Cardiff Blues and Pontypridd open-side praised Blues for having already won their European Challenge Cup Pool before going to Lyon on Saturday.

"They were gutsy against a very strong Toulouse side and the Blues have done very well in topping the group with a week left," said Williams.

"They look like they are going to have an away quarter-final, but if you look at the sides left like the quality they have they should not fear anyone.

"There is nobody who you would say left in the competition will definitely win the tournament. It's wide open."

Dragons have an outside mathematical chance of reaching the quarter-finals, but would need a bonus-point win at home against Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday and other results going their way.