Tigers’ ‘worst’ season slumps to a fresh low
Geordan Murphy admitted Leicester simply did not turn up but could not explain why as the Tigers produced another awful display in Llanelli.
Not for the first time in what is statistically their worst ever season, they were not at the races as the Scarlets progressed to victory in facile fashion.
Both teams had seen their Champions Cup hopes ended before kick-off and while it must be acknowledged this was a weakened Tigers side – England duo George Ford and Manu Tuilagi were both rested – the paucity of their performance on the big European stage could not be excused.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland watched as tries from his international forward duo of Rob Evans and Ken Owens put Scarlets 12-0 ahead. Evans, Johnny McNicholl and Steffan Evans scored further home efforts. Late replies from Will Evans and Mike Fitzgerald could not deflect from what was another chastening night for Murphy.
The Tigers head coach said: “We were five per cent off. I can’t put my finger on why. I was relatively happy to only be 12-0 down at the break, but we didn’t have much of a response.”
Leicester captain Matt Toomua was lucky to escape a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on as his team spent most of the first half on the back foot.
Scarlets’ Rob Evans burrowed over and Owens soon followed suit. The latter outstanding at No 8, he smashed through a poor Kyle Eastmond tackle to score. Dan Jones converted.
Rob Evans added his second and the Scarlets’ third try at the start of the second half, and Kieron Fonotia’s waltzing break laid on the bonus-point effort for McNicholl before Steffan Evans quickly dived over in the corner. Evans and Fitzgerald at least ensured Leicester avoiding the ignominy of ending the game pointless.
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: “There were flashes of the old Scarlets there. Ken [Owens] deserves praise. It’s one thing to play at No 8 once, but to do it on the big European stage shows what a team man he is.”
In with a shout: Ken Owens was the pick of a dominant Scarlets side in a convincing home victory