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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 07:08 GMT 08:08 UK
Scarlets welcome Tigers challenge
By Bruce Pope

Llanelli Scarlets director of rugby Phil Davies
Phil Davies says the Scarlets are well prepared to take on Leicester
Phil Davies says Llanelli Scarlets face a huge task in the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup away to Leicester.

But the Scarlets director of rugby prefers a trip to the Walkers Stadium on 21 April rather than a Paris match.

Tigers' thrilling 21-20 win over Stade Francais on Sunday means Scarlets avoid a semi-final in the Stade de France.

"It's going to be a great challenge for us when we go up there in three weeks but it's great in one sense because we'll get more support," Davies said.

"I think we would still have got great support in Paris, but I think we'll get just a bit more in Leicester.

"It was a bruising game and Stade played pretty well, but Leicester are a terrific side.

"They're a very physical side, they play rugby in a very intense way and they know their way around the field."

The Scarlets are the first Welsh regional side to make the Heineken Cup semi-finals, knocking out holders Munster 24-15 at Stradey Park on Friday.

I'm sure I'll speak to (Cardiff Blues coach) David Young and (Ospreys coach) Lyn Jones and I'll get my scouts looking as well

Scarlets director of rugby Phil Davies

But the west Wales side made this stage five years ago in their previous club guise.

Leicester stood in their way in 2002 and only a huge last-gasp penalty from Tim Stimpson denied the Welsh a place in the final.

"It'll be a great occasion, there's great history between the two teams and we haven't been in the semi-final for five years," Davies added.

"But that's history now, that's gone years earlier and we'll keep focussing on the now where both teams are full of quality players."

Northampton's surprise win at Biarritz and Wasps' victory over Irish side Leinster means the Scarlets are the only non-English side in the last four of Europe's top table.

Cardiff Blues faced Leicester in the pool stages, while the Ospreys had them last season and play an EDF Energy Cup final against the Tigers a week before the Scarlets meet them in the Heineken.

And Davies will be happy to pick the brains of his fellow Welsh heads - Ospreys coach Lyn Jones and Blues boss Dai Young - if it helps the Scarlets find an edge.

"We'll use all available resources, although we'll concentrate on our game like we've done all year," Davies said.

"We'll look at the opposition and have awareness of what they're capable of and this game will be no different, we'll be very thorough.

"I'm sure I'll speak to David and Lyn and I'll get my scouts looking at the game as well - we'll have plenty of idea what's happening by the time we get there."

  • Llanelli Scarlets have been allocated 13,000 tickets for the Heineken Cup semi-final against Leicester Tigers at the Walkers Stadium, Leicester on Saturday, 21 April.

    Members will be entitled to purchase two tickets each from 0900 BST on Wednesday 4 April.

    These will be reserved until 1700 BST on Tuesday 10 April and members may also purchase further tickets on general sale.

    Tickets will simultaneously go on general sale from 0900 BST on Wednesday 4 April.

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