European win would be fitting send-off for Pivac – Owens

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Wayne Pivac (left) was appointed coach of Scarlets in August 2014 and appointed Ken Owens captain
European Champions Cup: Scarlets v Racing 92
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Sat, 13 Oct Kick-off: 17:30 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, the BBC Sport website and app

Scarlets captain Ken Owens believes success in Europe would be a fitting climax for Wayne Pivac’s five years as head coach.

Pivac leaves at the end of the 2018-19 season to succeed fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland as Wales coach.

Their bid starts against last season’s runners-up Racing 92 on Saturday with Scarlets aiming to improve on their own semi-final exit of 2017-18.

“Wayne would love to leave here with a huge bit of history made,” said Owens.

Wales hooker Owens says the early announcement of Pivac’s appointment as national coach means the region are able to concentrate on performances without dealing with speculation.

And he acknowledges that after winning the Pro12 title in 2016-17 and reaching a European Cup semi-final for the first time since 2007, the region’s sights are set on the European title.

“When he (Pivac) first came here the ambition was to improve the side, which we’ve done – we won the league – and then to be able to fight on both fronts,” added Owens.

“Last season was the first time we managed to do that – getting to a semi-final.

“Obviously how it ended was disappointing, but it is a target and it has been set out.

“We know how difficult it is going to be and you’ve got to beat the best. But it is a goal of ours.”

Scarlets were the first Welsh region to reach the knock-out stages in six seasons, but after beating La Rochelle at home in the quarter-final were hammered 38-16 by Leinster in the penultimate round.

“We learned a lot from that game,” added Owens.

Scarlets conceded five tries in their semi-final defeat by Leinster in May 2018

“We came up against the best side in Europe last season by a country mile. They did to us what we did to them the year before in the league semi-final.

“We were second best by a mile.”

But the defeat has not dampened the British and Irish Lion’s determination to write a new piece of Scarlets history with a European Cup win.

“It hasn’t been done here before,” he said.

“To be considered a great side you’ve to win in Europe.

“We’ve won the league and we just need to keep knocking on the door of Europe to prove we are a great side.

“We did it the hard way last year as well after losing our first two games and managed to get through the group so with a bit of luck this year we’ll make it a little bit easier for ourselves.”

Listen to Ken Owens on BBC Radio Wales Sport from 1400 BST on Saturday, 13 October



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