Leicester Tigers v Scarlets - Ian Cockerill's Standpoint
Following the bonus point win by Sale against Wasps the day before, the Tigers travelled to Llanelli to take part in a dead rubber since neither team had any prospect of progressing in the competition.
Frankly that is pretty much the way the game was played.
Tigers had clearly decided substitutions pre-game and determinedly stuck with the plan to obtain the game time for the players they had deemed appropriate.
In many ways, the scheduling which left that situation in the group games – where the groups had been decided before the matches were played – is typical of the LV= Cup tournament, which is a cobbled together group phase with a relatively shambolic end sums it up.
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Tigers were good and bad in parts in the game itself. A pleasing level of ruthlessness and a little precision in attack gave them an unlikely lead and three tries in the first half.
The second was less pleasing as the front-row changed and the Tigers' scrum disintegrated, without that set-piece parity it was always going to be a struggle and so it proved.
Clearly the sin-binning of Rob Andrew and Fraser Balmain was unhelpful and Tigers pretty much capitulated in the end.
While the final score was in the region of embarrassing, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had the match been "live" in terms of progression.
Positives? Mat Tait has been practising under the high ball and was secure, Dan Bowden showed some flair and control at No.10, Andy Forsyth is still an excellent prospect and appears to have developed physically during the close season.
Geordan Murphy made his comeback and still shows what a genuine leader he is on the pitch.
It would be interesting to know the thinking behind the decision for the excellent club man Matt Cornwell to take all the set-piece kicks – if Dan Bowden, as many suspect, is going to get more game time for the rest of the season.
He will need to step up to those kicks (unless Tigers have another back-up kicker in mind) and not taking the opportunity to practice seems a little strange. Is Bowden carrying an injury?