Tuilagi stars as Tigers down Scarlets

Manu Tuilagi (Getty)
Manu Tuilagi (Getty)

Paris - Barnstorming Manu Tuilagi played a man of the match role as two-time winners Leicester reignited their European Champions Cup bid with a 45-27 win over Scarlets on Friday.

The injury-plagued England centre scored one of his team's five tries in a bonus-point triumph as the 2001 and 2002 champions bounced back from their opening 24-10 Pool 4 defeat against Ulster.

"Manu had an amazing game and he is getting better every week," said Leicester director of rugby Geordan Murphy.

"If he keeps playing he will get even better and after tonight he's got a shot at being selected for England."

Scarlets, semi-finalists last season, ran in three tries but a second successive loss after going down 14-13 to Racing 92 has severely dented their chances of making the quarter-finals.

For Leicester, the win ended a five-match losing streak in the European Cup.

Harry Wells, Guy Thompson, Sione Kalamafoni, Tuilagi and Johnny May scored the Tigers' tries with George Ford kicking 20 points.

For Scarlets, who made the semi-finals last season despite also losing their first two pool games, impressive scrum-half Gareth Davies, Steff Evans and Blade Thomson grabbed tries with Leigh Halfpenny booting the other points.

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac said his team were undone by conceding a series of penalties after the break.

"We were under pressure in the scrum so we conceded a number of penalties, which caused us to lose territory," said Pivac.

"We were short of injured players but we felt we had a team to get the job done and it was disappointing to leave a bonus point out there in the end.

"It's now a very tough task to qualify so we need to regroup and try to get two bonus point wins, home and away to Ulster."

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