The drought is over for the two-time European Cup winners Leicester Tigers. A bonus-point win over the Scarlets restored order to Welford Road in a bruising encounter under the Friday night lights. The Welsh region briefly led at the hour mark but the underlying class of the Tigers came to the fore in the final quarter of play.
A second half power game consisting of direct running, fast rucks, utilisation of space and an efficient power game ensured the powerful Tigers pack got the ascendancy which led to their dangerous combination of backs gaining front ball which made all the difference.
Guy Thompson - The summer recruit from Wasps underlined his potential Test level credentials over the duration of the 80 minutes at Welford Road. A live candidate for the Man of the Match honours, Thompson carried with intent on 8 occasions for a gain of 58 metres, beating one defender and contributing two clean breaks. Known for his physicality in the tackle, the openside pitched in with 11 dominant hits and showed his deft handling skills with a couple of neat exchanges in open play. A first half try helped shift the balance towards the home side as he picked up a awkward ball off the deck and showed a quick turn of foot to power away to score in the corner.
Dan Cole - A notable absentee for the England squad for the Autumn International's, Cole put that disappointment behind him with a top class 74 minute shift as he dominated Wyn Jones at scrum time to yield multiple scrum penalties for his side. Cole anchored the set piece suberbly and did well defensively contributing 10 thundering hits. The 82-Test cap veteran cleaned out rucks with great intent and made himself a willing ball carrier in the loose as he chalked up 6 carries in an energetic performance. His physicality at close quarters was particularly noticeable as it was clear to see the Leicester native had a point to prove to the England selectors.
Manu Tuilagi - The England centre rolled back the years with an incredibly dominant display to help his side claim a vital five points. With Eddie Jones in attendance, Tuilagi put on a ball carrying exhibition, often charging into heavy traffic, the Samoan born powerhouse constantly got over the gain line to help generate front-foot ball for his side. He carried the ball on 13 occasions for 89 metres, made two clean breaks, beat six defenders, gave an offload and rounded off his night with a well deserved try. The home side hit the accelerator at the 60 minute mark and they have the power game of Tuilagi to thank for shifting the balance tonight.
What a game we have on our hands! 🙌
Minutes after Scarlets take the lead, Manu Tuilagi goes beast-mode to steal it back!
All set up for a nail-biting finish on BT Sport 2 HD 📺 pic.twitter.com/Fyirs2OW4y
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