Ken Owens: Scarlets boss Pivac praises forward's 'heart and soul' displays

Hooker Ken Owens has played Scarlets' last two games as an emergency number eight
Hooker Ken Owens has played Scarlets' last two games as an emergency number eight

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac has praised the commitment of Ken Owens after his man of the match show in the European Champions Cup win over Leicester.

The Wales and British and Irish Lions hooker has played as a makeshift number eight in Scarlets' last two games.

The 32-year-old was outstanding in the 33-10 win over Leicester, claiming a try in a fine all-round display.

"He puts so much heart and soul into every performance, whether it's playing for his club or country," said Pivac.

"Ken's done very, very well and he brings a lot of emotion to the game."

Scarlets lost all five of their matches in December, including a 5-34 defeat at home by Cardiff Blues in a Pro14 derby that sparked boos from some sections of the Parc y home crowd.

Owens' switch to the back row was prompted by injuries and European tournament rules that prevented Scarlets adding specialist cover in that area.

"He [Owens] was probably quite hurt a couple of weeks ago and he's responded with a performance, and that's what you want out of players," said Pivac.

"As much as fans were disappointed a few weeks ago, we were just as disappointed if not more and that's what people need to understand.

"No one goes out and intentionally plays a bad game, certainly no one in this team.

"I think some of that emotion comes out and that's what we want in the players - we want them to be emotional and bring that emotion so long as it's under control."

Scarlets are, as yet, unbeaten in 2019.

A Pro14 win over Dragons was followed by Saturday's five-try show against the Tigers to record the first win of their European campaign.

Scarlets were already out of contention for the quarter-finals and complete their pool games away to Racing 92 on Saturday, 19 January.

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