Dwayne Peel hails battling Scarlets for dramatic win against Clermont
Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel praised his side’s fighting spirit after seeing them “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat” against Clermont to reach their first European Challenge Cup semi-final.
Clermont, despite losing centre Irae Simone to a red card in the 24th minute, looked set to claim a last-four spot for themselves as they recovered from 15-3 down to lead 30-22.
However, Scarlets refused to give in and snatched a 32-30 win when Ryan Conbeer scored a try with five minutes to go which was superbly converted by Sam Costelow from the touchline.
Peel, whose men will host either Glasgow Warriors or Lions in the semi-finals, said: “It’s a massive win as we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
“On 65 minutes, I thought we were really up against it as we were struggling to cope with their power game.
“Sam’s kick was fantastic but we showed terrific fight and endeavour to get the job done but if I was in Clermont’s shoes, I would be very disappointed.
“It’s a massive competition but it shows how important it was to finish top of the group and gets these home games.
“It won’t be easy in the semi-finals as Glasgow are in good and Lions are picking up with some good results lately.”
Scarlets were quick out of the blocks to built a 15-3 lead but the dismissal of Simone for a head-high challenge on Leigh Halfpenny seem to galvanise the French side, who were much the better team until 10 minutes from the end when the home side conjured up a late rally to turn things round.
Scarlets centre Johnny Williams, who continued his recent rich vein of form with an impressive performance and an interception try, said: “It was a very tight game but it was a serious result for us.
“It was nerve-racking at the end but I always thought it was coming our way and I’m very proud of the performance.
“However I was praying on the halfway line when Sam was kicking so he must have had nerves of steel.
“We switched off a bit when they had the red card but it soon evened out when we lost two players to the bin pretty quickly.
“We want to go all the way in the competition and that’s certainly the goal.”
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