Llanelli coach Gareth Jenkins has told his players they are equal to
reigning Heineken Cup champions Leicester Tigers - and Wales' most
successful coach hopes a 10,000 plus Stradey Park capacity crowd in full
voice can give the Scarlets the edge in this weekend's European clash.
Leicester are the English cup and league champions and Heineken Cup holders.
They are currently riding high at the top of the Zurich Premiership and are
unbeaten this season in Europe, but Llanelli are the only team to stop the
Tigers scoring a try this season - and they have only lost 2 from fifteen home
matches since their European campaign began in 1996.
The Scarlets finished within three points (9-12) of the champions in the
match that kicked off this season's Heineken Cup at Welford Rd, but neither
team crossed the opposition try line.
And Jenkins knows he must win the return fixture in the final match of Pool One at Stradey Park on Saturday, in order to qualify for a Heineken Cup
quarter final place as one of two best Pool runners up.
"They are the most respected and feared side in Europe," said Jenkins.
"But we are a proud club and we know at least our destiny is in our own
"I rate our chances as 50/50 on the day and we have a good try-count in our
favour so qualification for the next stage is there if we can grab it.
"It's Wales against England and hopefully the intense atmosphere of a packed Stradey Park will be a shock to the system for the Tigers and give us an
"Whatever the result it's going to be a mammoth Anglo-Welsh clash and
these are the type of games that every one in rugby wants to be a part of.
Llanelli went down to a big away defeat at Perpignan last week, ruling
out automatic qualification from their Pool and gifting Leicester the top
spot before this weekend's match is played.
Leicester, 1998 Cup winners Bath Rugby, Stade Francais, Munster and
Leinster are all safely through to the prestigious knock-out stages. For
the Scarlets, Ulster, Castres, Biarritz Olymique, Montferrand, Cardiff and
Glasgow Rugby it will go down to the wire for the final three quarter-final
places in Round 6 this weekend.
But with a superior try count of 22 beating each of their rivals the
Scarlets are ideally placed to qualify as a best placed runner up, if they can beat the Tigers.
"We don't need to tell you how disappointed we are after last weekend, not only with the result but the performance," added Jenkins.
"But we don't have time to dwell on that, we just have to pick ourselves up
because the European champions are coming to Stradey Park on Saturday and
we have to beat them.
"There is no bigger motivation than that Leicester Tigers are coming to town
and at least it will be easy to get our mind set right."
LLANELLI'S HEINEKEN CUP RECORD AT 'FORTRESS' STRADEY PARK
In 17 European matches at Stradey Park Llanelli have won 15 games, losing
The Scarlets have beaten English opposition to decide pool qualification
once before, they beat London Wasps 25-15 to secure a quarter final place
against Cardiff in the 99/00 Heineken Cup competition - that season they
lost 28-31 to eventual winners Northampton in the semi-final at Reading.
96/97 W Leinster 34-17
W Pau 31-15
97/98 W Benetton Treviso 39-18
W Pau 14-10
W Caledonia 31-10
98/99 L Leinster 27-33
W Begles-Bordeauz 22-10
W Stade Francais 17-13
99/00 W Bourgoin 29-10
W Ulster 20-3
W London Wasps 25-15
W Cardiff 22-3
00/01 L Gloucester 20-27
W Roma 46-0
W Colomiers 34-21
01/02 W Perpignan 20-6
W Calvisano 93-14
Played: 17, Won: 15, Lost: 2
POOL 1: Qualified - Leicester Tigers as group winners
Maybe - Llanelli. Cannot top group but must beat Leicester to challenge as
one of best runners-up. They also have the best try count in the
competition to date with 22 tries. Mathematically they can still qualify
if they lose to the Tigers, but only in a complicated scenario which
involves Ulster losing to Benetton Treviso at home. Maximum 8 points Out -
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