Scarlets achieved something special, says coach Wayne Pivac

Wayne Pivac talks to Ma'a Nonu after Scarlets beat Toulon
New Zealander Wayne Pivac talks to ex-All Black Ma'a Nonu after Scarlets beat Toulon

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac praised his side's "special" night at Parc y Scarlets by beating Toulon to top their European Champions Cup pool.

Pivac's side became the first Welsh region to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition in six years.

The Scarlets managed this feat despite losing their first two games - they are only the third side to achieve this.

"We know we have achieved something special," said Pivac. "It is a little bit of history for this team."

Scarlets had targeted Europe after winning the 2016-17 Pro12 title.

Europe: The next frontier

"We have set some goals as a team," said Pivac.

"We want to do well in the Pro14 but the next frontier was always Europe and the players were desperate to do well.

"After a slow start it has been a fantastic effort to win all four [remaining] games, which is what we had to do."

Record Parc y Scarlets crowd

The game was played in front of a record Parc y Scarlets European crowd of 14,476.

"This is a very important night for this ground," said Pivac.

"It was a great atmosphere. To see what it meant to the fans after the final whistle went was fantastic.

"It is up there with anything we have achieved since we have been here. It was a David versus Goliath situation in terms of budgets."

Skipper Owens' 11-year wait

Scarlets last achieved European top tier quarter-final qualification 11 years ago when captain Ken Owens was a rookie member of the squad.

"We have come a long way in the last three years," said Owens.

"I thought this was a monumental effort against a world-class side. I have not felt like this since I was a 19-year-old in 2007 with the Scarlets.

"Winning the league last year is one thing, but you judge yourself on Europe."

Waiting for a knock-out opponent

The west Wales team must wait until Sunday's games to discover if they will have a home quarter-final. There are matches to come involving Munster, La Rochelle and Ulster.

"It would be fantastic if we get a home quarter-final," said Pivac.

"The boys would love to play at home, but we are happy to be in the quarters and we will wait to see where we go."

A third son and a win for coach Jones

The victory proved a whirlwind 24 hours for Scarlets backs coach Stephen Jones and his family.

"Last night, just before midnight, Gwen [Jones' wife] produced his third son," said Pivac.

"I am pleased to say Gwen has allowed Stephen a late pass to celebrate the win and the birth of their son."

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