Sunday, 18 January 2015

6 try Tigers keep Euro dream alive

A dominant Tigers performance kept our slim European hopes alive with a 6 try thrashing of an injury stricken Llanelli side.  Tries from Miles Benjamin, Jordan Crane, Adam Thompstone, Sam Harrison and a brace for Tom Youngs secured a 40-23 win for hosts.  Llanelli's tries came from prop Rob Evans and two late scores for wing Harry Robinson.

Tigers knew they needed the full 5 points.  I wish they needed 5 points every week.  Early indications were given when Tigers turned down the chance for 3 points and kicked the opening penalty to touch instead.  For the lineout Mulipola was withdrawn and fed for a rumble.  After gaining good front foot ball it was whipped away, Adam Thompstone's tight pass was crucial as Benjamin used his strength and trickery to beat two men for the finish.

Just 5 minutes later and Tigers again kicked an attacking penalty to the corner.  This time the pack kept the glory for themselves, rumbling forward for Jordan Crane to dot down.

Both tries were excellently converted by Freddie Burns.

Rhys Priestland had nibbled away at Tigers lead with two penalties to make it 14-6.  Tiger never make it easy for themselves though and just after coughing up a certain try, Ben Youngs' firing a bullet at Mulipola who was just a couple of feet from him and would surely have crashed over with a sympathetic pass, they found themselves down to 14 men.  Graham Kitchener was baffling yellow carded on the half way line and the Scarlets scored from their own maul, prop Rob Evans the beneficiary.

Into the second half and Tigers were still playing with ambition.  Croft and Kitchener combined on turnover ball inside our 22 to break out to half way, with Kitchener adding a glorious dink chip on the end.  Thompstone also made a strong break down the right and was rewarded on 46 minutes as he scored his first try since March 2014.  It came from an attacking move from a scrum.  Yes such things do still exist.  Llanelli were probably so surprised to see a first phase attack they didn't know what to do.

The bonus point was secured after the introduction of Ayerza and Tom Youngs saw the scrum go from secure to totally dominant.  A penalty at a scrum saw the ball kicked for the touchline.  Like the first half Tigers drove and were unstoppable.  This time Tom Youngs was sequestered at the back of the charging pack.

Youngs secured his first ever brace for the club 5 minutes later, picking a beautiful inside out line from his brother's snipe around the fringe of the ruck.

With the bonus point and match secure Tigers took their foot off the gas and allowed some excellent handling from Llanelli to slip Harry Robinson round the corner and in for a try.  Points difference is the new tie breaker this season for European Rugby, these late tries may still be the death of us.

Tigers struck one back through substitute Sam Harrison feeding off Robert Barbieri's break and pass before Robinson finished the scoring with another effort for the west Walians.

Tigers were impressive with Bai & Crane particularly to the fore.  If we can keep up the forward interplay of the last few weeks but combined with a more miserly defence we can still make a late season for the Premiership title.  Europe is in hit and hope territory.  Our best bets to better as second places all play after us next Sunday so we must simply win and win well.  If we are knocked out on a tie break then so be it.

No comments:

Post a Comment