Metal studs click on the floor, the air is filled with ralgex and various smells. Players sit with multi coloured I pods, move their heads in rhythm, while others look down, look up. Nervous energy, electric in it’s intensity.
The dressing room doors swing open, a figure jams them open, as wide as possible. The players all look up and curse why Nigel has left the cold gusting wind in, to their sanctuary of warmth and peace.
He moved to the centre of the room, clapped his hands then stopped.
” Can you hear that, can you hear them. All that singing is for you, each and everyone of you. Take it in, remember that sound, when you run out there, today.
These are the games , you play rugby for.
All the years i have been at this fantastic club, the great games at Stradey, the Heineken Cup games, beating touring teams, were stepping stones, for this day, this game, in this wonderful stadium, with that kind of support. We have prepared really well , you all know your targets and what we must do, to over power this Munster team.
They will come at us hard, you must hit them harder, faster and smarter, think, play heads up rugby and show everyone what you can do.
Sanjay, they will try and test you. Rog will kick high and into the corners, he won’t stop, make him wish he had.
George, remember the new moves, they will be marking you tight, hold the ball until the boys get to you.
Scott, hold the line, Mafi is good, but your better. Watch him and keep knocking him back, if it’s on use your speed.
Foxy, if it’s on, go for it, use your support runners and pin them back with grubbers if needed.
Sean, again Rog will be lobbing balls everywhere, watch your positioning with these unknown Munster wings.
Rhys play territory, their back row will try to get to you, be aware of Leamy, he is quick. Don’t always go for distance with your kicks on penalties, get them in, Be precise, be clever.
Gareth, work their backrow, keep them guessing and use your strength against Murray. Watch him, he is quick around the fringes.
Rhys, Mathew, Iestyn, prove the doubters wrong, lock the scrum, be formidable, our scrums and lineout’s must be faultless. Garin has worked you hard, now use it and deliver.
Sione, Damien, tackle, tackle, tackle, they will keep driving through the middle. They will try and smash through, smash them harder, drive harder, let them know they are not going to win anything. Give me a full 80 mins.
Shings, line out’s are crucial, we must have the ball. If you can get their throw in great, if not, be a pain. Rhys he is your target.
Rob, your tackling has been ferocious, watch the upper body tackles and lead the pack. Watch the penalties. Be aggressive at the breakdown , they will.
Ben make your mark on this Munster eight, work with Gareth and keep them thinking, be strong, use your head and get at them.
Nigel pauses and takes a step back and nearly trips on the red tape, carelessly left on the floor. The intensity lifts a bit and Nigel senses it.
He composes himself, then delivers an impassioned voice, full of emotion.
“They have won this cup and they are a good side. But you, all of you are a great side.
They are not as hungry as you are, right now. All of you have worked hard for this, years of hard yards, pain, sweat, the tears and all the turmoil and bitter defeats, was to prepare us, for these games.
Do not leave the field, filled with anguish, do not leave the field, knowing you could have given more.
There are past players, great Scarlet players, standing in this room with you today, who would love the chance to take this challenge today”.
Nigel pauses and turns slightly around, as he hears the sound ascending even louder, a signal that kick off time, approaches.
“Do you hear that, those voices out there, will give everything for you, they travel all over Europe not to let you down. Do not let them down.
You carry the hopes and dreams of all those people out there, for West Wales and for Wales.
We are almost there, today we put the past behind us and go on and qualify and win this Trophy.
Your families are here, son’s and daughter’s, mother’s and father’s, Grand parents, young and old, for their love of the Scarlets and they sing for you.
Now play for them and get out there and make them proud”.