Scarlets: Halfpenny says region ready to beat the best

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny represented the British and Irish Lions in 2009, 2013 and 2017

Leigh Halfpenny says Scarlets are ready to beat the best in order to achieve their Champions Cup ambition.

The Welsh region reached a first semi-final in 11-years by beating La Rochelle 29-17 at Parc Y Scarlets with Halfpenny scoring 19 points.

Scarlets will now travel to play either Leinster at the Aviva Stadium or holders Saracens at the Ricoh Arena.

"If we want to win this competition like we are setting out to do, we have to beat the best," he explained.

"Leinster and Saracens are both quality sides. It is what this competition is about, playing the best teams.

"We will celebrate this hard-earned victory and then prepare for what is a massive game for us as players, supporters and coaches."

British and Irish Lions fullback Halfpenny, who signed a three-year dual contract with Wales and Scarlets in August, has won the competition previously with Toulon in 2015.

However, the 78-capped Wales international says it is all the better to achieve success with his a Welsh region.

"It is a pretty special feeling," he said. "It is a huge occasion for this club and to win a quarter-final at home in front of this amazing crowd, a packed house was a hell of a feeling.

"It is huge. There has been a lot of hard work out in over the years and we delivered when it mattered.

"There were times when we were under pressure but the character of the boys showed to hold them out and go back down there to score was outstanding.

"To go around the pitch with all of the boys after the game and do a lap in front of a packed house was amazing."

Scarlets captain and Wales hooker Ken Owens praised Halfpenny's influence.

"His kicking ability is the best in the world," said Owens.

"We knew if we put them under pressure we are going to get penalties and had the right man to bang them over."

Owens has been part of Wales Six Nations triumphs and a British and Irish Lions drawn series but admitted this was a special victory, even having been a part of the Scarlets' last cup run.

"It was the biggest game and greatest moment of my club career so far," said Owens.

"I was involved in the 2007 side and it has taken 11 years to get back to that stage.

"It has been a barren 11 years. In west Wales you are judged on Europe and this side have proved we can do it in this competition.

"The atmosphere was fantastic and to have just shy of 16,000 was amazing."

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