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Leicester try scorer Shane Jennings
Inpho/Billy Stickland
Scarlets Snared In Tiger Trap
4 April 2007, 9:17 pm
By Pat Geraghty
Leicester Tigers qualified for their fourth Heineken Cup final thanks to a victory over Llanelli Scarlets at the Walker Stadium. The final scoreline might have been a little unkind to the Welsh side but there was no denying that Leicester were full value for this win. Furthermore, it is difficult to see them being denied this title no matter who comes out of the Sunday's Coventry encounter between High Wycombe Wasps and the Saints from Northampton
Leicester Tigers qualified for their fourth Heineken Cup final thanks to a victory over Llanelli Scarlets at the Walker Stadium. The final scoreline might have been a little unkind to the Welsh side but there was no denying that Leicester were full value for this win. Furthermore, it is difficult to see them being denied this title no matter who comes out of the Coventry encounter.

They never allowed themselves be fazed at any stage of an entertaining game and when the Scarlets did get their noses in front, Leicester simply rolled up their sleeves, upped the temp and went about retrieving the advantage in their own inexorable manner.

Two Andy Goode penalties in the opening five minutes put the Tigers six points clear before Stephen Jones reduced the deficit in the tenth minute and he should have levelled three minutes later. The infringement that led to that penalty award saw Geordan Murphy binned for a deliberate knock-on but despite enjoying territorial advantage the Scarlets failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage. In fact it was the Tigers who came closest, Tom Varndell just failing to holding a scoring pass and ten Harry Ellis seeing his kick ahead drift into touch in goal with a not a Scarlet in sight.
Just before Murphy returned Goode had kicked Leicester further ahead and then in the 27th minute Barry Davies saw his effort from half way fall just short.

Leicester bided their time and then in the closing minutes of the half struck with a try from Goode that he converted himself for a 13 point lead (16-3). Game over ?

But the Scarlets refused to be rattled and with three minutes of normal time in the first half remaining Mark Jones went over in the corner unopposed and Jones' conversion from the touchline went over off the upright. Game On !

Both sides were reduced to 14 at the start of the second half when Deacon Manu and Alex Moreno were yellow carded. And Scarlets were first to take advantage when Matthew Rees finished off a period of pressure with a try wide on the left. The conversion from Jones put the Scarlets into a one point lead.

It lasted all of two minutes because after Llanelli turned over a ball on half way Goode dinked a delightful chip through and Irishman Shane Jennings collected to score under the posts to leave his out-half with a simple tap-over. (23-17).

Scarlets were fortunate not to lose another player to the bin when they blatantly pulled down a rolling maul and this time Goode made no mistake leaving Scarlets needing two scores with sixteen minutes remaining.

They did go close, Rees stopped short on the right and then Mark Jones on the right but with these chances going abegging, against a street-wise side like Leicester, time was not their friend.
The final nail was hammered into the Scarlets coffin in the 77th minute after a clever kick ahead set up the position for Louis Deacon to score the game's final try.

Llanelli Scarlets: B Davies; D James, R King, G Evans, M Jones; S Jones, D Peel; I Thomas, M Rees, D Manu; V Coope (I Afaeki 71 mins), S MacLeod; S Easterby, G Thomas, A Popham (N Thomas 71 mins).
Leicetser Tigers: G Murphy; T Varndell (S Rabeni 67 min), D Hipkiss, D Gibson S Vesty ht), A Tuilagi; A Goode, H Ellis; A Moreno (M Holford 64 min), G Chuter, J White; L Deacon, B Kay (L Cullen 61 min); L Moody, S Jennings, M Corry.

Referee: A Rolland.

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