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Bonus win maintains Tigers' Euro push

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Leicester Tigers maintained their European Rugby Champions Cup ambitions with a bonus-point 40-23 victory over the Scarlets at Welford Road on Friday night.

Tigers answered director of rugby Richard Cockerill’s pre-match call for a bonus-point win with six tries in all to secure their third home win of the European season.
 
Miles Benjamin and Jordan Crane got the ball rolling with a try each in the first half before adding four more after the break through Adam Thompstone and replacements Tom Youngs (2) and Sam Harrison.
 
The result moved Tigers level on points with defending European champions Toulon at the top of Pool 3, with the French side due to play Ulster Rugby on Saturday.
 
Brad Thorn returned from a calf injury to take his place in the second row alongside Geoff Parling.  Logovi’I Mulipola, who returned from an Achilles injury at Harlequins last week, made his first start since the Aviva Premiership Round 3 in September.
 
Mulipola was joined in the front row by Michele Rizzo and Leonardo Ghiraldini, and there were places in the backline for Freddie Burns and Seremaia Bai.
 
Scarlets were the quickest to settle into the game, stringing together a series of phases in the Tigers 22 where they met sold resistance. However, Tigers infringed at a ruck and Priestland kicked a simple penalty to give the visitors a fifth-minute lead.
 
Thorn came off to be replaced by Graham Kitchener shortly after the restart.
 
Tigers responded with their first period of possession and when Adam Thompstone was blocked as he chased Burns’ kick, the fly-half kicked Tigers into the Scarlets 22 for the first time with the resulting penalty.
 
Ghiraldini found Croft with his lineout and Tigers struck. Mulipola’s run off the lineout sucked in defenders, Burns’ deep pass to Thompstone opened up the left flank, Tait joined in from full-back and fed Benjamin, who still had work to do as he powered past two defenders to score. Burns added the touchline conversion to give Leicester a 7-3 lead.
 
Steven Shingler replaced Jordan Williams at full-back as the Scarlets were then forced into an early change.
 
Bai was full of invention in the early stages, his break from a ruck resulting in another penalty on halfway that allowed Burns to find touch again on the Scarlets 5m line.
 
Croft was again the target in the lineout and a try was again the outcome. This time Tigers went for the drive and had the Scarlets pack in trouble for Crane to apply the finish for his first try of the season. Burns added a second touchline kick to move Tigers 14-3 ahead.
 
Burns then kept Priestland’s penalty touchfinder in play close to his tryline and then, with a narrow angle, found an excellent touch close to halfway.
 
However, Priestland found his range with his second kick at goal after Tigers failed to roll from the tackle, cutting the lead to 14-6. In doing so Priestland overtook Stephen Jones as Scarlets all-time leading points scorer.
 
Tigers went close to a third try when Thompstone’s barrelling run took them to within 5m of the line. It was set up for Mulipola on the crash ball but he was unable to gather Ben Youngs’ pass. It then needed good defence from Thompstone and Tait to halt Scott Williams’ threatening break as Scarlets looked to counterattack.
 
Tigers finished the first-half with 14 men , referee Pascal Gauzere feeling Kitchener’s penalty for not rolling away was one too many and showing the second-rower the yellow card.
And Scarlets made their man advantage count immediately, setting up the drive from the penalty and prop Rob Evans peeled off the to score for the visitors. Priestland was wide with the conversion as Tigers led 14-11 at the break.
 
Tigers began the second half positively with Thompstone threatening down the right wing and Kitchener putting the Scarlets under pressure with a chip and chase on the opposite flank.
 
And they made the early pressure pay with a nicely-worked move off the back of a scrum. Crane fed Youngs, whose deep pass to Tait opened up the space for Thompstone to finish at the right corner.It was Thomsptone’s first try of the season as Tigers led 19-11 after 48 minutes.
 
Tigers introduced Marcos Ayerza and Tom Youngs from the bench for Rizzo and Ghiraldini, and they made an instant impression winning a scrum penalty that Burns pumped into the corner.
 
Croft again set up the drive and with Tom Youngs in control at the base, the replacement hooker went over the bonus-point score. Burns made it three conversions from four to extend Tigers’ lead to 26-11.
 
Fraser Balmain replaced Mulipola after 55 minutes of the contest.
 
Tigers continued to press and brothers Ben and Tom Youngs combined for the fifth try of the evening. Ben darted between two defenders on the Scarlets 22, offloaded to Tom who collected in full stride to score his second try of the game. Burns added the extras to give Tigers a 33-11 lead.
 
Scarlets cut the deficit immediately, making the most of a penalty advantage, and with some slick handling, created an overlap on the right for Harry Robinson to score. Tigers led 33-16 going into the final quarter.
 
Scarlets went down to 14 men themselves when Aaron Shingler was shown a yellow card for pulling down a maul close to their line.
 
And it wasn’t long before the extra man told with a sixth Tigers try. Robert Barbieri, on for Julian Salvi, broke from a ruck, brushed off Jake Ball and offloaded for Sam Harrison to score. Replacement fly-half Owen Williams added the conversion for a 40-16 lead.
 
Robinson finished off another overlap on the right for his second try of the game, which was converted by Steven Shingler for the game's final score.
 

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 14-11 SCA

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 40-23 SCA

Attendance

18,913

Referee

Pascal Gauzere

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
40

Full Time

Scarlets
Scarlets
23

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Scarlets
Possession
54%
46%
Territory
54%
46%
Penalties Conceded
10
13
Yellow Cards
1
1
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
114/141 81%
107/122 88%
Scrums Won
7/7 100%
4/4 100%
Lineouts Won
14/14 0%
12/12 0%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Scarlets
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Mathew Tait
14Adam Thompstone1T
13Vereniki Goneva
12Seremaia Bai
11Miles Benjamin1T
104C
9Ben Youngs
1Michele Rizzo
2Leonardo Ghiraldini
3Logovi'i Mulipola
4
5Geoff Parling
6Tom Croft
7Julian Salvi
81T
16Tom Youngs2T
17Marcos Ayerza
18Fraser Balmain
19Graham Kitchener
20Robert Barbieri
21Sam Harrison1T
22Owen Williams1C
23Matt Smith

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

Vereniki Goneva
13
Vereniki Goneva
Seremaia Bai
12
Seremaia Bai
Miles Benjamin
11
Miles Benjamin
10
Leonardo Ghiraldini
2
Leonardo Ghiraldini
4
Geoff Parling
5
Geoff Parling
Julian Salvi
7
Julian Salvi
8

Subs

Marcos Ayerza
17
Marcos Ayerza
Fraser Balmain
18
Fraser Balmain
Robert Barbieri
20
Robert Barbieri
Owen Williams
22
Owen Williams

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Jordan Williams
14
Harry Robinson
13
Regan King
12
Scott Williams
11
Hadleigh Parkes
10
Rhys Priestland
9
Aled Davies
1
Rob Evans
2
Ryan Elias
3
Peter Edwards
4
Jake Ball
5
George Earle
6
Aaron Shingler
7
John Barclay
8
Rob McCusker

Subs

16
Darran Harris
17
Wyn Jones
18
Jacobie Adriaanse
19
Lewis Rawlins
20
James Davies
21
Rhodri Williams
22
Steve Shingler
23
Rory Pitman
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
2
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI6303108126-1812151013
4
Scarlets
ScarletsSCA620490134-44816008
Form Guide
Form
WLWLW
Last Match
Beat Wasps 38-31
Past Meeting
Lost 10-33
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
WWLWL
Last Match
Lost to RC Toulon 6-11
Past Meeting
Won 33-10