Paul Hodgson and Mike Catt of London Irish won't be underestimating the Scarlets
London Irish scrum-half Paul Hodgson and player coach Mike Catt insist this afternoon's clash with the Scarlets will provide just as big a challenge as their triumphant trip to Dublin last weekend.
The Exiles returned from the Irish capital with a stunning victory over Heineken Cup holders Leinster on Friday but Hodgson and his team-mates will not be taking the Scarlets lightly ahead of their round two encounter at the Madejski Stadium.
While Irish were 12-10 victors over Brian O'Driscoll and co on the opening night of European action, the Scarlets finished convincing 24-12 winners against Brive in Llanelli the following afternoon.
And, despite the Scarlets languishing near the bottom of the Magners League table, Hodgson has no doubt that the West Wales region are more than capable of causing an upset if Irish are unable to produce a repeat performance of last week's heroics.
"It was a great win on Friday night but come Monday morning the team was brought back down to earth" said Hodgson, who was part of the London Irish side that reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup in 2008.
"We have two difficult games to start our Heineken cup campaign and this weekend is going to be massive.
"The Scarlets are a great team and had a great victory over Brive. We know we are going to have to be playing at our best…if we are not at our best we could come undone".
Those sentiments were echoed by veteran playmaker Catt, one of the most-respected figures in the English game whose role is now primarily that of coach at last season's Guinness Premiership Finalists.
Catt's experience tells him that success can quickly be followed by failure if standards drop, especially against a side possessing the quality of the likes of Lions star Stephen Jones and former Wallaby No8 David Lyons.
"Stephen Jones has been in these big games before and he knows how to win games," explained Catt.
"He knows exactly how to play the game and we've really got to keep an eye on him.
"There's David Lyons at No8 as well. They've got some big ball carriers and when they get going they're a formidable side.
"They've come off the back of a very good win against Brive so we need to make sure we front up."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.