Hugo Keenan labelled ‘world class’ as Scarlets boss reflects on ‘tough lesson’

Adam Kyriacou
Hugo Keenan in action for Leinster against Scarlets.

Hugo Keenan in action for Leinster against Scarlets.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel believes Ireland star Hugo Keenan is “probably the best 15 in the world” after he shone for Leinster against his side in Dublin.

It was a tough defeat for the Welsh region at the RDS as they went down 54-5 as a much stronger Leinster team dominated, running in eight tries in the victory.

The result takes Leinster top of the United Rugby Championship table while Scarlets are sitting second bottom, with this their fourth loss in five league games.

World class Keenan

Peel admitted after the game that Leinster’s international quality shone through on Saturday evening and singled out classy full-back Keenan for special praise.

“It was a tough lesson, they were obviously stacked and I thought the quality they had in their group told in the end,” the ex-Wales nine told Scarlets’ website.

“We battled hard for the first 50-60 minutes, they started like a train like they always do here, they came out quickly and then we got back into the game.

“We had a few opportunities in their 22 at the end of the first half which we didn’t convert, but in the physical contest of the game they came out on top.

“They are big men and they won those battles. They managed to win the gainline and a couple of times they bossed the breakdown, turned over the ball and our transition defence was caught lacking.”

Peel added: “I thought Keenan on the edge was world class, probably the best 15 in the world at the moment and people like that will hurt you.

“There are lessons to be learned for our boys. We made some changes, gave boys some opportunities. We have players at home and players injured so it is good for these boys to experience this.”

Tuipulotu praise

While it was a tough night for the Welsh region, who put out a young side for the match, Peel was impressed with the showing of his 22-year-old number eight.

“I thought Carwyn Tuipulotu was excellent, he carried hard, offered himself a lot, he is working hard and is getting better every week, that is important,” he said.

“We also need to understand we need to close the gap, the gap is too much at the minute. We keep saying we will get better but it is going to take time and patience.”

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