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Page last updated at 19:29 GMT, Saturday, 15 January 2011

Scarlets 18-32 Leicester Tigers

Scarlets (10) 18
Tries: Stoddart, Lamont. Con: S Jones. Pen: S Jones 2.
Leicester (6) 32
Tries: A Tuilagi, Youngs, Mafi. Con: Flood. Pens: Flood 5.

Alesana Tuilagi helps Ben Youngs celebrate his try for Leicester
Alesana Tuilagi helps Ben Youngs celebrate his try for Leicester

Leicester put one foot in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with an impressive win against a spirited Scarlets side at Parc y Scarlets.

The Tigers trailed 10-6 at the break to a Morgan Stoddart try and Stephen Jones' boot.

But the visitors gradually over-powered the Scarlets after the break, even if Sean Lamont claimed a late consolation.

The Tigers' tries came from Alesana Tuilangi, Ben Youngs and Steve Mafi with Toby Flood kicking 17 points.

The Scarlets go to Perpignan on Sunday whereas the Tigers host Italian side Benetton Treviso at Welford Road, giving them a major opportunity to underline their European credentials.

Having created a memorable opening try at Welford Road in their first Pool encounter only to go on to suffer a 46-10 drubbing, the hosts were all too aware of the challenge that faced them.

Nigel Davies' side rose to that in the opening period, matching the Tigers' renowned scrum power despite having a rookie at tight-head prop in Simon Gardiner.

And the hosts' pack also matched Richard Cockerill's men for muscle around the field in the opening period, although the visitors' knack of stealing line-outs put the hosts under pressure at times.

Leicester's Toby Flood kicked the game's first points with a brace of penalties by the 17th minute.

But there was a nervous edge among the ranks of both teams throughout the opening period that culminated in a wonderful Scarlets try started and finished by Stoddart.

The right wing did his chances of making Wales' Six Nations squad no harm with as he created the space for Jon Davies to charge upfield.

Centre Davies kept his composure before finding Stoddart on his outside and the wing stepped inside the covering Ben Youngs to go over at the corner.

Fly-half Jones converted the 19th-minute try from the touchline and then set up another attacking platform that threatened Leicester's line.

Flanker Josh Turnbull also contributed as the Scarlets swept upfield and Gareth Maule went over only to be penalised for rolling along the floor to make the touchdown.

However, British and Irish Lion Jones ensured his side a 10-6 half-time lead as his first successful penalty shot ended the opening period.

Flood struck back as the Tigers enjoyed the best of the opening minutes after the break only for Jones to restore his side's four-point advantage.

But the Tigers were not to be denied for long. Centre Anthony Allen rounded prop Iestyn Thomas in midfield and found lock George Skivington in support.

The ball came back right where slick handling by George Chuter and Scott Hamilton gave Alesana Tuilagi the space to power over on the left.

Flood failed to convert, as he did when Youngs scorched over from 35 metres after Thomas Waldrom won possession at a tackle.

Those failed conversion attempts gave the Scarlets hope until Flood made amends with his fourth penalty in the 68th minute after Leicester's scrum power won a penalty.

The England fly-half added a fifth penalty to underline Leicester's increasing grip on the encounter.

Waldrom sat out the game's final minutes after killing possession, but he and his team-mates had done more than enough in the second half to end the contest comfortably in charge, underlined as Steve Mafi was driven over from close range.

However, the Scarlets had the consolation of Sean Lamont's late try from a perfectly-weighted Stephen Jones cross-kick.

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill:

"We had to win tonight, otherwise we were out. That's massive when you have to front-up like that, and the boys fronted-up.

"I thought the Scarlets played very well and they put us under huge amounts of pressure. We just had to keep our shape and try to play in the right areas.

"Our away form has not been particularly good, but it has started to turn the corner."

Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies:

"I thought we had them on the ropes a little bit in the first half, and I felt we had opportunities. Physically, in the first half we were right up there with them.

"Perpignan is a very difficult place to win, but we are still in the fight.

"We are a bit bruised and a bit battered after tonight, but we will bounce back. We gave Leicester a run for their money."

Scarlets: Priestland; Stoddart, Maule, J Davies, Lamont; S Jones, Knoyle; I Thomas, M Rees (capt), Gardner, Reed, Cooper, McCusker, Turnbull, Lyons.
Replacements: R Jones for I Thomas (71), Phillips for M Rees (71), John for Gardner (49), Fa'amatuainu for Cooper (49), Morgan for McCusker (69), L Williams for Maule (69).
Not Used: Pugh, Roberts.

Leicester: Hamilton; Smith, M Tuilagi, Allen, A Tuilagi; Flood, Youngs; Ayerza, Chuter, Castrogiovanni, Deacon (capt), Skivington, Waldrom, Newby, Crane.
Replacements: Stankovich for Ayerza (77), Hawkins for Chuter (77), Cole for Castrogiovanni (55), Slater for Skivington (77), Mafi for Newby (40), Agulla for M Tuilagi (70).
Not Used: Grindal, Staunton,

Sin Bin: Waldrom (75).

Attendance: 12,392

Ref: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

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see also
Centre King ruled out for a month
15 Jan 11 |  Scarlets
Edinburgh 16-21 Scarlets
08 Jan 11 |  Scottish
Leicester 27-16 Northampton
08 Jan 11 |  English
Leicester 46-10 Scarlets
17 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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