Scarlets and Leicester look to kickstart their campaign

No Welsh team has triumphed at Welford Road against the Tigers

Leicester Tigers v Scarlets, Welford Road , 7.45 (Live on BT Sport)

The Scarlets may have to rekindle some of the character they demonstrated last season when after losing their opening two pool matches in the Heineken Champions Cup they reached the semi-finals before succumbing to the eventual champions, Leinster.

They were beaten at home in their opening game in this campaign by Racing 92 and now head for a venue where they have never won a European match, losing all four previous meetings at Welford Road. No Welsh team has triumphed there against the Tigers.

Leicester are hardly in chipper mood though, well beaten by Ulster in Belfast, a result that marked a fifth consecutive European defeat, their worst ever run in the tournament.

There was some good news for head coach, former Ireland international Geordan Murphy, as England wing Jonny May returns after injury (shoulder) and secondrow Will Spencer following suspension, while Graham Kitchener and Argentine prop Facundo Gigena are among the replacements. England Under-20 star Jordan Olowofela is one to watch.

The Scarlets have outhalf and secondrow issues and are without Rhys Patchell (concussion), Angus O'Brien (torn ACL), Steve Cummins (concussion) and Jake Ball (leg) while wing Johnny McNicholl is another absentee.

Home advantage and a better approximation of a full side might just see the Tigers finish on the right side of the result.

LEICESTER TIGERS: J Holmes; J May, M Tuilagi, K Eastmond, J Olowofela; G Ford, B Youngs; G Bateman, T Youngs (capt), D Cole; H Wells, W Spencer; M Williams, G Thompson, S Kalamafoni. Replacements: T Polota-Nau, F Gigena, J Heyes, G Kitchener, T Reffell, S Harrison, M Toomua, A Thompstone.

SCARLETS: L Halfpenny; I Nicholas, J Davies, H Parkes, S Evans; D Jones, G Davies; W Jones, K Owens (capt), S Lee; T Price, D Bulbring; B Thomson, J Macleod, W Boyde. Replacements: R Elias, P Price, W Kruger, J Helps, U Cassiem, S Hidalgo-Clyne, S Hughes, P Asquith.

Referee: R Poite (France)

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer

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