Tigers Break Scarlets Hearts
21st April 2007 By Munster Rugby
Despite having lost all their previous Heineken Cup knock out games at the Walker Stadium, superstition was firmly put aside as the Tigers powered their way to a 33-17 victory over Llanelli Scarlets and secured their place in their fourth Heineken Cup final.
Leicester looking firmly in control from the outset, playing a tactical game that out muscled the Welsh visitors upfront and rarely allowed them to play the expansive rugby that had defined Scarlets’ rugby this season.
A penalty against Gavin Thomas for holding on after three minutes saw Andy Goode giving Tigers an early three point lead. Three minutes later he added another penalty kick to double their score.
Stephen Jones got Llanelli on the scoreboard after ten minutes with a penalty after Julian White infringed at a ruck.
Despite being reduced to ten men four minutes later after Geordan Murphy was penalised for killing the ball, Llanelli failed to capitalise with Jones missing the ensuing penalty attempt and Goode putting further distance between the sides after 22 minutes with a tricky penalty kick after Gavin Thomas was penalised at the scrum.
Barry Davies had an opportunity to reduce the deficit after 28 minutes but his kick didn’t find its mark and Tigers maintained their six point lead. It proved to be Andy Goode’s day as he crashed through two tacklers after 34 minutes to cross the line for the Tigers. His conversion put his side 16-3 ahead as half time loomed.
Scarlets responded three minutes later with Mark Jones having an easy run in to score his third try in this year’s tournament. The score put Scarlets right back into the game as half time saw the scoreline read 16-10. However, Tigers domination at the breakdown and winning crucial turnover ball allowed them to control the game with Scarlets fighting to keep their Heineken Cup dreams alive.
Both teams were dealt a blow four minutes after the restart, when Manu and Moreno were both sent to the bin with referee Alain Rolland. Scarlets took the lead for the first time on the game after a 50th minute try credited to Matthew Rees, was awarded after consultation with TV referee Dave McHugh. Jones added the extras to put Scarlets 17-16 ahead.
Scarlets celebrations were short lived however as a minute later Tigers reclaimed the lead with Shane Jennings powering over for a try after collecting Goode’s chip ahead. Goode added the extras to put the Tigers 23-17 ahead. Shortly after, an ambitious penalty attempt by Goode didn’t reach its target, however, six minutes later he was on target to put nine points between the sides. With play reaching a frenetic pace, Tigers had to endure intense pressure from the Scarlets as the game entered the last ten minutes, however, Tigers defence held firm.
After 74 minutes one felt that time had run out for Scarlets when Barry Davies was forced to concede a five metre scrum after racing with Hipkiss to collect Jennings’ chip ahead. From the resultant scrum Louis Deacon touched down to put Tigers out of sight. Goode added the extras to complete the scoring and put Leicester Tigers into their fourth Heineken Cup final.