Difficult conditions on Saturday, and a Scarlets side closer to full strength than the embarrassing selection made by Dai Young in the previous round, gave Booth a far better testing ground for his continued development of the side. Unfortunately, it exposed far more negatives than positives. The selection was a questionable one for the forecast conditions, so Booth has to take some of the blame on himself. Cross is not a wet weather 6. Thomas-Wheeler is not a powerful gain line 12, and neither half backs have great kicking games.
The Scarlets are not a confident side and for the first 15 minutes we looked in control, but we failed badly in the latter part of the first half. The wind was at our back, the Scarlets lost Ball to the bin, and yet we conceded 13 points and never threatened. The first 10 minutes of the second half were just as abysmal, but after that we got on top and had our chances to get back in. A desperately bad officiating call on 55 minutes, that even Shanklin on commentary spotted, when a stone-cold penalty try was denied, may have changed the outcome, but the overall performance got what it deserved. A loss without a losing bonus point.
We badly missed Morgan Morris and Kieron Williams, as only Ethan Roots seemed capable of getting himself over the gain line on any consistent basis.
The half backs were comprehensively outplayed by their opponents. Neither have the pace to trouble teams at this level, and neither have the ability to put shape on the game or win any kicking battle. The time must have come to have a good look at Harri Morgan in the 9 position and the 10 position looks by far our biggest problem heading into next season, with a lot of reliance on a player who has not been on the field for 2 years and a 37-year-old back up. It makes sense over the next few games to have a look at whether Matt Protheroe could give us a third option behind Anscombe and Myler, because no credible attacking structure can be built around the two 10's we have seen in the last two games.
The other big worries continue to be our lack of any pick and drive game and poor cleaning out. The line out is unreliable and failed to handle Shingler. It is a great shame as our driving maul is effective and well-constructed, but all too often we are denied from using it because we are unreliable in securing possession. Consideration may need to be given as to whether we should add to our coaching team with some specialists who could improve these areas. We seem incapable of generating fast ball to attack with, because our breakdown technique is so passive.