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Tigers feat impresses Cockerill

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill hailed his players after admitting the Tigers had faced a make-or-break Heineken Cup clash against the Scarlets.

Second-half tries by Alesana Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and substitute Steve Mafi underpinned a 32-18 Pool Five success for Leicester after the Scarlets led by four points at half-time. A bonus point victory next weekend against Welford Road visitors Treviso should be enough to see Leicester progress - either as group winners or one of two best runners-up.

Cockerill said: "We had to win, 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. They are a good side and they put us under huge amounts of pressure. We just had to keep our shape and try to play in the right areas."

He added: "Treviso are not an easy side to beat, so we've got to go and do that job first. What we can do is get a quarter-final by doing well next week.

"Europe is getting harder and harder to win because of lots of reasons, but we want to try to go as far as we can. We want to try to win the tournament - how realistic that is, we will have to see."

England fly-half Toby Flood kept the scoreboard ticking with five penalties and a conversion for 17 points at a windswept Parc-y-Scarlets, although the home side led 10-6 at the break following wing Morgan Stoddart's try.

Stephen Jones added two penalties and a conversion, while Sean Lamont claimed an injury-time touchdown, but the Scarlets ultimately proved unable to avenge a 46-10 drubbing in Leicester three months ago. The visitors scored 26 points after the break, silencing the majority of a record 12,392

Scarlets though, are likely to make an early Heineken Cup exit, unless they can beat Perpignan in France next weekend with a bonus point. Head coach Nigel Davies said: "I am really proud of the guys - they gave it everything. In the end, we couldn't control the ball enough to give ourselves a platform to go at Leicester.

"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, but we will bounce back. We gave Leicester a run for their money."


From Belfast Telegraph