Scarlets put away limp Leicester

Date published: October 26 2014

The Scarlets overcame a mountain of injuries to defeat Leicester 15-3 in an error-ridden Champions Cup contest at Parc y Scarlets.

The Scarlets overcame a mountain of injuries to defeat Leicester 15-3 in an error-ridden Champions Cup contest at Parc y Scarlets.

Plagued by mistakes, champions Toulon won’t exactly be having sleepless nights ahead of their back-to-back matches with the Tigers in December.

The error count from both sides was high, from Leicester obviously more so, as the English side failed to follow up last week’s win over Ulster. At times they were dire.

The Scarlets had shone in defeat to Toulon last weekend and, when things clicked, they exuded that again. Defensively, and at the breakdown, they were hugely superior and showed real fight.

A raft of injuries couldn’t even stop them. Kristian Phillips, best known for speeding past opponents on the wings, found himself packing down at number eight.

Anthony Allen was a welcome return to the Leicester midfield with Manu Tuilagi now out until Christmas, but he couldn’t take an early chance when he dropped the ball over the line in a sign of things to come.

Miles Benjamin and Vereniki Goneva made incisive breaks to set up a chance for the former England international, but he couldn’t hold onto the final pass.

Good breakdown work saw Owen Williams knock over the first points of the game but a clanger from Benjamin handed the Scarlets an absolute gift of a try.

Attempting to step and run his way back following a deep kick, the wing haphazardly spilled the ball and fell to the earth no doubt wishing it would swallow him up. Harry Robinson couldn’t believe his luck.

Rhys Priestland wasn’t getting a share of that with his kicking. Two shocking misses from the Wales fly-half kept Leicester right in the game at 5-3. Steve Shingler had more luck following his introduction, initially at least.

Scarlets lost Jake Ball late before kick-off along with Rory Pitman and Scott Williams early on, so some disruption to their play could have been forgiven.

Leicester’s ill-discipline though gave them a helping hand. On the other one, Scarlets missing 11 points worth of kicks in the first half let their visitors off the hook.

There were certainly chances. Goneva just couldn’t hold on to a possible interception, while Kristian Phillips looked almost in for a second try before the excellent Blaine Scully crucially intervened.

Where Leicester were on top was in the lineout, stealing Scarlets ball while remaining rock solid on their own in a bid to set a platform for a comeback.

In a contest short of quality though the Scarlets deserved their lead, thwarted by the efforts of Julian Salvi.

They just needed an extra bit of luck. Both of the Scarlets tries were served up by Leicester on a platter.

A dart from Ben Youngs saw the ball popped up out of his hands by Aled Davies and the scrum-half scampered away to the delight of the home crowd.

Given how they had played there appeared no way back for the Tigers, but lying down isn’t really in their DNA. Except they had no composure when it mattered, individual errors stopping any progress.

The Scarlets lapped it up and dominated the penalty count through clinical breakdown work and some strong defence, typified by Liam Williams playing right on the edge.

Leicester had no answer to it. They had no answer for their own performance either, one that will have made Richard Cockerill fume.

Aled Davies deservedly won Man of the Match – his second half score being so crucial, as Leicester left West Wales with nothing. The brawl at the end was an apt conclusion.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: Robinson, A Davies
Con: S Shingler
Pen: S Shingler

For Leicester:
Pen: O Williams

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Michael Tagicakibau, 12 Scott Williams (c), 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Rory Pitman, 7 John Barclay, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Phil John, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Jordan Williams.

Leicester: 15 Matthew Tait, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 David Mele, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Matt Smith.

Referee: Johnny Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway (Ireland), Eddie Hogan-O’Connell (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)