Tigers take on free-flowing Scarlets
October 15, 2010
Stephen Jones led the way for the Scarlets against Perpignan © Getty Images
Welford Road opens its doors for the first time in this Heineken Cup campaign on Sunday as Leicester take on a confident Scarlets side.
The hosts endured a torrid away trip to Italy last weekend but emerged with a five-point win thanks to Alesana Tuilagi's late try, while the Scarlets were at their free-flowing best in beating Perpignan at Parc y Scarlets.
The Tigers will be supremely confident at home and their pack will be out to dominate and deprive the Scarlets of possession. David Lyons and skipper Matthew Rees weigh in for the visitors and will have to get their forwards on the front foot in order for their backs to fire.
Leicester - Player to Watch: Toby Flood makes a much-anticipated return to action and will need to prove his mettle with England's November tests looming.
Leicester - Team News: Flood, Anthony Allen and Marcos Ayerza return for Leicester. Ayerza joins George Chuter and Martin Castrogiovanni in the front-row, while Allen partners Matt Smith in midfield.
Scarlets - Player to Watch: Regan King rolled back the years last weekend with a brilliant display of off-the-cuff rugby. If Stephen Jones keeps the ball coming, King will be a threat.
Scarlets - Team News: The big names from last weekend's victory are all present and correct, with King and Jones joined in the starting line-up by fullback Rhys Priestland, No.8 David Lyons and skipper Matthew Rees.
Key Battle: Flood v Jones is a possible precursor to next season's Six Nations opener and the Leicester fly-half could not have asked for a better test of his match sharpness.
Trivia: The Scarlets have only beaten Leicester once in five Heineken Cup attempts - including losing semi-finals in 2002 and 2007.
Stats: The Tigers are unbeaten at Welford Road in 13 Heineken Cup ties - a draw against the Ospreys in the opening game of last season's tournament their only blemish.
Quote Unquote:"Scarlets scored four good tries against Perpignan, which shows their form, and we scored five tries in Treviso, so it should make for a good game on Sunday." - Leicester coach Richard Cockerill
"It's a mindset that our players have to be comfortable, charged and confident to go onto the field and express themselves and we have got some quality, skilled players and they showed what they are capable of. You have to create that mentality within the squad, but then it's about giving them the freedom to play." - Scarlets boss Nigel Davies
Prediction: The Scarlets were fantastic with ball in hand against Perpignan but shipped five tries - Leicester will not be as forgiving in defence as the French side and should power through.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson