European Rugby Champions Cup: Leicester Tigers 45-27 Scarlets

European Rugby Champions Cup: Leicester Tigers 45-27 Scarlets thumbnail

Manu Tuilagi gained 89 metres – more than any other player on the pitchEuropean Rugby Champions CupLeicester (15) 45Tries: Wells, Thompson, Kalamafoni, Tuilagi, May Cons: Ford (4) Pens: Ford (4)Scarlets (13) 27Tries: G Davies, Steff Evans, Thompson Cons: Halfpenny (3) Pens: Halfpenny (3) Leicester proved too strong for Scarlets as they raced away in the…

Manu Tuilagi gained 89 metres – more than any other player on the pitch
European Rugby Champions Cup
Leicester (15) 45
Tries:Wells, Thompson, Kalamafoni, Tuilagi, MayCons:Ford (4)Pens:Ford (4)
Scarlets (13) 27
Tries:G Davies, Steff Evans, ThompsonCons:Halfpenny (3)Pens:Halfpenny (3)

Leicester proved too strong for Scarlets as they raced away in the final quarter to secure a first Champions Cup win of the season.

After a tight first half, Blade Thompson punished a lax Ben Youngs kick to put Scarlets 27-25 up on the hour.

But the Tigers, who had seen leads of 10 and then 12 points slip earlier in the match, fought back.

The impressive Manu Tuilagi barged over for a try before Jonny May skipped into the corner to wrap up victory.

With fly-half George Ford kicking 20 points off the tee and for many more metres out of hand it was a pleasing way for the hosts to bounce back fromtheir opening-round defeat by Ulster.

Champions Cup Pool Four
Played Won Points
1. Leicester 2 1 5
2. Ulster 1 1 4
3. Racing 1 1 4
4. Scarlets 2 0 1

Scarlets, who lost to Racing 92 last weekend, found themselves under pressure at the scrum and unable to stem Leicester’s heavy-duty ball-carriers.

With one point from their opening two matches, Wayne Pivac’s side have it all to do to make the last eight.

Tuilagi takes chance to impress watching Jones

Tuilagi – who has 27 caps to his names – was included in England’s squad for the autumn internationals announced earlier this week

Leicester had plenty of momentum in the forwards with second row Harry Wells, flanker Guy Thompson and number eight Sione Kalamafoni crossing for their first three tries after powerful rumbles from the home pack.

It was the performance of centre Tuilagi that will have excited the Welford Road faithful and watching England coach Eddie Jones most however.

Hampered by a sting of injuries, he last started a Test in June 2014 and has fewer than nine appearances a season for Tigers over the past four campaigns.

The 27-year-old looked close to his barnstorming best though as hungrily sought out the ball and left sizeable dents in the Scarlets defence.

Injured England and Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola was impressed by Tuilagi’s display

As he received his man of the match award, he insisted that he was not allowing himself to look ahead to England’s autumn internationals.

“It is nice to get a few games under my belt, just to keep going and try and stay fit,” he told BT Sport.

Scarlets’ spontaneity not enough

Gareth Davies was a constant source of danger to Leicester

The visitors, lagging behind in both possession and territory, threatened to steal the game through their ruthless exploitation of Leicester’s occasional defensive lapses.

Scrum-half Gareth Davies was particularly alive to the opportunities, skirting in for his side’s first try after Dave Bulbring’s break before setting up Steff Evans and Thompson’s second-half scores with clever movement and well-timed passes.

But ultimately, their lack of heft, particularly in the pack’s back five, told as Leicester wore them down.

The absence of second row Jake Ball and flanker Aaron Shingler, who is not expected back from a knee injury until December, was sorely felt.

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac told BBC Radio Wales:“We didn’t start well in either half and that put us under a bit of pressure.

“We fought back well and… to take the lead were very, very happy and then obviously we made some errors, and they were good enough to capitalise on those.

“We were chasing our tails a bit and that didn’t help.”

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Leicester:Holmes, May, M. Tuilagi, Eastmond, Olowofela, G. Ford, Polota-Nau, Bateman, T. Youngs, Cole, Wells, Spencer, Williams, Thompson, Kalamafoni.

Replacements:Toomua for Eastmond (60), Harrison for B. Youngs (69), Kerr for Polota-Nau (69), Gigena for Bateman (73), Heyes for Cole (73), Kitchener for Spencer (65), Reffell for Kalamafoni (68). Not Used: Thompstone.

Scarlets:Halfpenny, Nicholas, J. Davies, Parkes, S. Evans, D. Jones, G. Davies, W. Jones, Owens, Lee, T. Price, Bulbring, Thomson, Macleod, Boyde.

Replacements:Asquith for Nicholas (54), S. Hughes for D. Jones (73), Hidalgo-Clyne for G. Davies (73), Elias for Owens (73), Kruger for Lee (68), Helps for Bulbring (73), Cassiem for Thomson (68). Not Used: P. Price.

Referee:Romain Poite

Assistants:Vincent Blasco Baque, Stephane Boyer

TMO:Clare Daniels

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