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Mark Jones: Greater consistency can fire the Scarlets in new season

By Llanelli Star  |  Posted: August 07, 2013

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MARK Jones believes greater consistency must be the top priority for the Scarlets in the coming Pro12 season.

The Llanelli-based region reached the league semi-finals for the first time last term, only to see their campaign end with a dispiriting 41-17 setback at home to Treviso and defeat against Ulster in the last four.

They had actually won seven out of eight games in the run-up to the heavy loss against Treviso, the run including a superb 29-6 win over Glasgow at Parc y Scarlets.

But the culmination of the campaign proved an anti-climax, with injuries to key players not helping.

The Scarlets haven't won silverware since 2004 and are in a tough European group, so the Pro12 offers them the best chance of ending their long trophy drought.

But Jones wants a more even range of performances.

"Last season was another step in the right direction," he said.

"We showed what we were capable of by reaching a very high level at times but we also failed to execute certain games to a level we were capable of.

"The thing for us is to try to get some consistency.

"In many ways, the Ulster game at the end of the season was a microcosm of our season. We played some really good stuff and some not so good stuff. We have to try to even that out in the coming season."

Leinster have seen Joe Schmidt depart as coach and fly-half Jonathan Sexton leave for Racing Metro, but Jones reckons they will still be the team to beat.

"I don't see any reason why they are not the favourites this season," he said.

"My guess is the usual suspects will be there.

"Glasgow are good and have recruited again, while you are not going to be far away from winning things with the kind of quality the Ospreys have, with five Lions in their pack and an 80 per cent goal-kicker.

"Munster will be as strong as usual, and what a season Ulster had. There could be a couple of bolters as well."

He added: "We'll be a team who are competitive in terms of the Rabo. Hopefully, we'll be in that five-to-seven team shootout that usually happens.

"I'm also really excited about Europe."

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