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Jenkins Praises Aussie Coach

Jenkins Praises Aussie Coach

Llanelli coach Gareth Jenkins has paid tribute to his opposite number ahead of the Scarlets’ West Wales derby at Stradey Park on Friday.

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Jenkins says new Swansea coach John Connolly has galvanised his side so much with Aussie style coaching that the All Whites are almost unrecognisable from previous seasons.

“It’s definitely not the Swansea of old,” said Jenkins. ” They seem to be growing as a side and there are definitely signs of an Australian influence on the way they play.

“They are working to different patterns, still very strong out wide, but with a big improvement in the lineout.”

Connolly, who took French club Stade Francais to a Heineken Cup Final in 2001 and previously coached Queensland in Australia, brings a rugby pedigree to Wales that has impressed Jenkins.

And the most successful coach in Welsh rugby has admitted reaching a European final is the major goal for the Scarlets this season.

“There is one eye on Glasgow in the Heineken Cup first round,” added Jenkins.

“But at the moment all the focus of our attention is on Swansea at Stradey Park on Friday night.”

“Both teams have an outside chance of a place in the Celtic league quarter finals and that would mean a huge amount to us.

“We are well aware that Swansea doubled us last season and that is not an experience we want to repeat. But we are coming from two entirely different places this year.

“We have raised expectations about how we are going to perform and Swansea come from a more difficult position with a new team and a new coach.”

Llanelli: Garan Evans; Matthew J Watkins, Leigh Davies, Salesi Finau; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Iestyn Thomas, Marcus Thomas, John Davies, Luke Gross, Chris Wyatt, Dafydd Jones, Ian Boobyer, David Hodges.

Replacements: Martyn Madden, A N Other, Vernon Cooper, A N Other, Guy Easterby, Gareth Bowen, Matt Cardey

Injury Update:
Unavailable for selection where – Robin McBryde (Foot), Vernon Cooper (Dead Leg), Scott Quinnell (Nose) and Simon Easterby (Concussion)

The Stats:
This is the 363rd meeting of the two clubs. Llanelli lead 165 – 156 with 40 drawn and one abandoned. In the Welsh League Llanelli lead 11-10 on wins with one draw. At Stradey Park Llanelli lead 8-3.

Swansea have won the last two league meetings at Stradey and the last four overall, last losing a league match to Llanelli on 27 December, 1999.

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