Goode backs roaring Lyons to fuel Scarlets' surge

Llanelli Scarlets 24 Brive 12
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Andy Goode believes London Irish should beware. The Exiles will understandably be feeling high and ever so mighty after winning at the home of Leinster, the defending Heineken Cup champions, on Friday night. But the Scarlets will provide no easy homecoming fodder at Reading this weekend.

It may be stretching it a tad to say the mythical West Walian rugby town of Llanelli witnessed a resurrection at their gleaming Parc y Scarlets on Saturday. Yet a few fires were definitely relit in the land of the saucepans, with this, just their second win in their last 14 European games. Goode could testify to it. He and Brive had just had their fingers burnt, coming away without so much as a losing bonus point.

"Irish are a bloody good side, let's make no bones about that," said Goode, the No 10 who didn't have much chance to impress the England hierarchy. "To concede no tries in Leinster shows just how good. They've got our [Brive's] old defence coach, Dave Ellis, and he's clearly doing well. Why we let him go I'll never know. But if David Lyons, with all his go-forward, gets the Scarlets on the front foot again and with Stephen Jones controlling it, as he does so well, they've got every chance of winning up there. They should not be underestimated."

Goode was also prepared to warn Leinster that the 1997 champions will be a different proposition at home – "We're a lot better there, it's our first home game in the Heineken Cup in 11 years – it'll be intense" – and figures Pool Six could be one of the more open.

So much for the Llanelli mob being the sacrificial Scarlets, like they have been the last two seasons.

When Nigel Davies described the win as "huge" he did so with that emphatic lilt only a Welshman can provide. The coach will take so many positives up the M4 on Saturday as the Scarlets left at least three tries out there. As Goode pointed out, the first-half loss of the brilliant young centre Jonathan Davies affected their ever ambitious backline and the coach will be praying he recovers from a hip strain in time.

Davies was off the pitch when all the home movement was eventually rewarded. Sean Lamont's deft feet and hands put in Lee Williams as the half-time whistle loomed. Brive had held the lead until that point and threatened to wrest it away again, even as late as the 75th minute.

Yet the Scarlets, and in particular the tireless Lyons, deserved nothing less than Rhys Thomas's last-ditch try. The celebrations showed what it meant.

Scarlets: Tries Williams, R Thomas; Conversion S Jones. Penalties S Jones 3, Priestland. Brive: Penalties Goode 3, Orquera.

Scarlets: D Evans (R Priestland, 40); L Williams, S Lamont, J Davies (R Higgitt, 33), M Jones (capt); S Jones, M Roberts; I Thomas (P John, 52), M Rees (K Owens, 48), D Manu (R Thomas, 52), L Reed, D Day (V Cooper, 69), S Easterby (R Pugh, 69), D Jones, D Lyons.

Brive: F Estebanez (capt); H Agulla, J Noon, L Mackay, V Waqaseduadua; A Goode (L Orquera, 49), S Perry (J-B Pejoine, 67); D Kinchagishvili (P Toderasc, 69), J Bonrepaux (S Thompson, 42), J Garcia (P Barnard, 42), C Short, A Mela (R Uys, 42), A Popham (F Domingo, 35), V Forgues, A Claassen.

Referee: A Small (England).

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