Perpignan slumped to their second defeat in as many rounds in the Top 14 on Friday with a 26-22 loss to Bordeaux-Begles.
Perpignan slumped to their second defeat in as many rounds in the Top 14 on Friday with a 26-22 loss to Bordeaux-Begles at Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas.
The result leaves the 2009 French champions with just two losing bonus-points from their opening two matches of the season after going down at home to Toulon last week.
The game was tinged with controversy from start to finish with referee Laurent Cardona brandishing four yellow cards – all to props – and awarding a penalty try to the visitors while the hosts' only try was also scored in dubious circumstances.
For Bordeaux-Begles, the win represents their first success of the season after losing narrowly to Grenoble on the opening weekend.
Perpignan, who have yet to cross the whitewash this season, will head home harbouring a number of regrets after failing to score when they held a two-man advantage early in the second half.
The scores were locked at 15-15 at the end of a first stanza characterised by indiscipline and a plethora of penalties – against both sides – at scrum time, despite Perpignan's clear dominance at the set piece.
UBB started the second period with 13 men after props Hikairo Forbes and Albert Toetu were both sent to the sin bin.
But after gallantly holding off the Catalans' best attacking efforts (which weren't anything to write home about) centre Andrew Mailei broke the deadlock with a great individual try.
Perpignan's protests that the defenders attempting to stop Mailei's midfield break were illegally held back fell on deaf ears and a couple of penalties from fly-half Camille Lopez saw the hosts build an 11-point lead.
USAP continued to press though and were back in the game thanks to a penalty try awarded when Bordeaux pulled down an advancing Catalan maul.
It proved too little, too late as Kisi Pulu's inconceivable yellow card at a scrum in the dying minutes capped a miserable night for Perpignan.
For Bordeaux Begles:
Pens: Lopez 7
Try: Penalty try
Pens: Hook 5
Yellow cards: Forbes (UBB-34 min – repeated scrum infringements); Toetu (UBB – 40th min – offside at ruck); Florea (UBB-77th min – repeated ruck infringements); Pulu (Perpignan – 78th min – collapsing scrum)
Bordeaux Begles: 15 Bruce Reihana, 14 Thierry Brana, 13 Julien Rey, 12 Andrew Mailei, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Heini Adams, 8 Matthew Clarkin, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Gautier Gibouin, 5 Adam Jaulhac, 4 Justin Purll, 3 Albert Toetu, 2 Wayne Avei, 1 Hikairo Forbes.
Replacements: 16 Fabien Rofes, 17 Laurent Delboulbes, 18 Francois Tisseau, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Emmanuel Saubusse, 21 Felix Le bourhis, 22 Lachie Munro, 23 Silviu Florea.
Perpignan: 15 Gavin Hume, 14 Farid Sid, 13 David Marty, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Armand Batlle, 10 James Hook, 9 David Mele, 8 Henri Tuilagi, 7 Bertrand Guiry, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Robins Tchale Watchou, 4 Luke Charteris 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Romain Terrain, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Kisi Pulu, 18 Daniel Leo, 19 Luke Narraway, 20 Florian Cazenave, 21 Gilles Bosch, 22 Adrian Plante, 23 Jeremy Castex.
Referee: Laurent Cardona