Llanelli Scarlets look to Bunnings NPC for development opportunities

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In the years of the amateur game pre-1996, the All Blacks and the Scarlets base club, Llanelli, featured in some great contests, notably the 1972 9-3 win for the Welsh club.

 

But in the professional era, players, then coaches, have made a connection with the club.

 

Most recently, New Zealand coaches have served at the club.

 

As part of Brad Mooar's return to take up a place as an All Blacks' assistant coach, after only three months of a three-year contract last year, the Llanelli club negotiated an elite performance partnership with New Zealand Rugby (NZR).

 

Mooar had followed Wayne Pivac when he moved to the Wales coaching role. And when Mooar returned to New Zealand, former Highlanders assistant coach Glenn Delaney took over the role with Ben Franks as his scrum coach, and former All Blacks captain and hooker Sean Fitzpatrick joining the club as a board member.

 

That's not to forget the many battles sides from Llanelli had played against touring All Blacks sides in the amateur days, including their famous 9-3 win in 1972.

 

Scarlets' general manager John Daniels is heading the relationship, according to The Rugby Paper.

Daniels said the relationship 'looks at ways we can bounce ideas off each other and come up with provoking thoughts and innovations that might take things forward.'

 

"It's a critical friend-type approach, looking at what we do and maybe suggesting new ideas. I'd like to also think they might take something from us," he said.

 

As was the case with English club Harlequins, who also have a formal relationship with NZR, the Welsh side is looking to send some of its younger players to play in the Bunnings Warehouse NPC this year, as Joe Marchant had played Super Rugby for the Blues.

 

Opportunities in New Zealand for the Scarlets' young players, whether in the provincial or club championships, would add to their development.

 

"It would be a great rugby experience for them, but also in terms of life experience, they come back and probably be a more rounded and mature individual.

 

"Being a professional athlete, it can be difficult to get real-life experiences, so the ability in a managed and controlled way to get players out there is a definite plus and something we have discussed with New Zealand.

 

"The same opportunities exist for us to get staff down there and for the New Zealand Rugby Union to have staff come up and work with us.

 

"Those are the concepts being fleshed out at the moment," Daniels said.