John enjoying new lease of life
As the Scarlets prepare to take on Ulster on Friday in the Pro12, experienced prop Phil John says that a brood of young players is keeping him evergreen.
The Scarlets will be looking to secure a victory against Ulster at their Ravenhill home, which will see them do the double over the Irish province after a convincing 17-9 victory over them at Parc y Scarlets back in November.
With 244 appearances in the Scarlet jersey since Welsh rugby went regional (278 for the club including Llanelli RFC) John has enjoyed a long career with his club and is feeling as refreshed as ever.
He said: "There's a great group of young players in here at the moment. A number of the senior players are only 26 or 27 years old and I feel like I've had a new lease of life with all these youngsters coming through”
John returned to the starting XV against Treviso last weekend and was pleased with the six try victory over the Italian side. He went on to say: "We put a lot of good stuff together last week. We put the right planning in in the week and everything went right for us in the end.”
Looking ahead to Friday evening's challenge against Ulster, who have lost only one game in their last 10 matches, John said: "We secured a big performance against Ulster out here earlier in the season. They came here wanting to beat us up as a pack but we put in a good shift up front and got the result."
"This week will be no different. The weather will probably dictate a lot of the game as well. Ravenhill is a great place to go and play. Ulster have a lot of pride when they play there and we're expecting a tough game.
"They are a great team, even during the international period as they have class overseas players. We've trained well this week and are ready for the challenge.”
A bonus point victory over Treviso saw the Scarlets climb the Pro12 table as they look to be in contention for the play-off spot.
John, who has 18 appearances under his belt already this season, added: "It is important for me to get a run of games. Once you put in a good performance you can build on that week after week and hopefully we can end the season with a few more wins our belt.
"There are still nine games to go and in that period we play a couple of the top four teams. We have big games ahead of us and we have to ensure we get the most out of our home games.”