LEICESTER TIGERS 40 SCARLETS 23
Leicester Tigers kept alive their slim hopes of a European Champions Cup quarter final spot by romping to a bonus point victory at home to the Scarlets.
The Tigers scored six tries to three by the Scarlets and must now repeat the maximum points feat at Ulster next weekend and hope results go their way if they are to make the last eight. The Scarlets are effectively out.
Leicester, who led 14-11 at half time, scored tries through Tom Youngs (2), Miles Benjamin, Jordan Crane, Adam Thompstone and Sam Harrison, while Rob Evans and Harry Robinson (2) replied for the visitors.
Leicester lock Graham Kitchener and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler each received yellow cards.
The Tigers made six changes from the side that lost at Harlequins, including a recall for fly-half Freddie Burns, who replaced former Scarlets No10 Owen Williams.
The Scarlets were decimated by injuries and were without several Wales stars, South African lock Joe Snyman and six front rowers, which meant a European debut for Academy prop Ryan Elias.
Both sides, on eight points behind pool 3 leaders Toulon, needed a bonus point win to stand a realistic chance of qualifying for the quarter finals,
The Tigers desperately wanted revenge for their 15-3 away defeat in round two but at the end of a pulsating first half they held a narrow 14-11 lead.
After weathering an early Scarlets storm, which produced a penalty for fly-half Rhys Priestland, Leicester scored 14 points without reply before the visitors staged a marvellous fightback.
Leicester scored two tries, through winger Miles Benjamin and number eight Jordan Crane to one by Scarlets through loose head prop Rob Evans.
Both of Leicester’s tries came from line-outs in the Scarlets 22, the first a real statement of intent as they turned down the chance of an easy penalty to go for the try.
England flanker Tom Croft won the line out and after giant prop Logovi’i Mulipola had made a dent in the Scarlets defence a swift passing move resulted in Benjamin crashing through two defenders to score.
Burns’ touchline conversion made it 7-3 in the 10th minute and five minutes later it was 14-3 after Croft again won a line out and Crane was driven over by the forwards, Burns again converting from the touchline.
Priestland pulled three points back with a 20th minute penalty but Mulipola should have had try number three for the Tigers five minutes later but knocked on near the line.
Priestland was causing Leicester all sorts of problems but it was a yellow card for lock Graham Kitchener, a fifth minute replacement for the injured Brad Thorne, which let Scarlets back into the game.
Kitchener was sin-binned for an offence at a ruck in the 32nd minute and two minutes later Scarlets took advantage, driving to the line following a line-out before Evans broke off to force his way over. Priestland missed the conversion.
Leicester scored try number three six minutes after the break and again it came after they turned down the chance of an easy penalty.
This time they went for a scrum in front of the posts and after good work by Crane and scrum half Ben Youngs, Thompstone scored in the corner. This time Burns missed the conversion.
The all-important fourth try came six minutes later, again from a line-out and drive, with replacement hooker Youngs scoring moments after coming on. Burns added the conversion to make it 26-11.
After Tigers full-back Mat Tait pulled off a try saving tackle on lock Jake Ball, Youngs got a second after a lovely break by brother Ben, Burns again adding the conversion.
Scarlets hit back with a try by winger Harry Robinson but Steven Shingler missed the conversion.
Scarlets were reduced to 14 men in the 65th minute when Aaron Shingler was sin-binned but while he was off the park Robinson scored his second try, converted by Steven Shingler.