The work of a powerful forward pack and the composure of a team that went behind on the scoreboard in the second half were the qualities that pleased Geordan Murphy most in Friday’s five-try victory over the Scarlets at Welford Road.
Leicester Tigers went into the game without a win in Europe since Round 2 last season and needing points on the board in Pool 4 after defeat away to Ulster in the opening round of the Heineken Champions Cup last weekend, and they responded with a bonus-point 45-27 victory over the Scarlets.
An impressive performance in the final quarter of the game, after trailing 25-27, took Tigers top of the pool on the night with unbeaten Racing and Ulster due to meet in Paris a day later.
“It was a must-win game for us,” said interim head coach Murphy. “We were really disappointed with the way we played last week at Ulster and we know the Scarlets are a quality side. They caused us some real problems in the first half and we had to tidy up our game.
“In the second half, though, it was more like a performance we hoped for.
“At half-time I felt we had a lot left in us and when we went 27-25 down I thought we looked really composed. There was no panic and we really started playing like Tigers. I was proud of that.
“We’d scored tries, but we’d made a few mistakes. But we stuck at it and the last 20 minutes we really refreshing to see.
“The pack played really well, the scrum was really good. That has been an area of strength for us and Boris Stankovich should take a lot of credit for what we’re doing there.”