Planet Rugby

Connacht shock Biarritz

07th December 2012 21:49

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Charles Gimenez; Connacht v Biarritz

Biarritz: Crash to Connacht

Connacht pulled off one of the upset wins of the Heineken Cup season after beating Biarritz 22-14 at the Sportsground on Friday.

It was only Connacht's third victory in Heineken Cup history, adding to previous successes against Harlequins and Zebre, and leaves them second behind Quins in the Pool Three standings.

A Dimitri Yachvili penalty in the second minute got the ball rolling for the visitors, though they were quickly pegged back by Fetu Vainikolo's converted try.

Vainikolo snapped up a Dave McSharry offload before crossing the line, and Dan Parks made no mistake with the extras to raise home expectations at this early stage.

At the end of the first quarter, Yachvili's second penalty of the evening narrowed the deficit to a single point, though Parks' drop-goal barely two minutes later gave Connacht breathing space.

The scores remained at 10-6 until the final minute of the first period, when a third Yachvili penalty ensured there was little between the teams at half-time.

Parks had contributed half of his side's points in the first half and he was at the centre of attention once again following the restart - hitting two penalties in the first fifteen minutes of the second half to stretch Connacht's lead.

The former Scotland pivot added a second drop goal of the match eight minutes from time to set up what would prove to be an unassailable advantage.

A penalty from Parks two minutes from full-time rubbed salt into the wounds for Biarritz, whose consolation try from Imanol Harinordoquy in the final minute did little to erase feelings of disappointment following an indifferent performance from the French outfit.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Try: Vainikolo
Cons: Parks
Pens: Parks 3
Drops: Parks 2
Yellow cards: Eoin McKeon (36 mins), Tiernan O'Halloran (80 mins)

For Biarritz:Try: Harinordoquy
Pens: Yachvili 3

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Jason Harris Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Dennis Buckley, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Danny Qualter, 20 Johnny O'Connor, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Matthew Jarvis.

Biarritz: 15 Iain Balshaw, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 13 Charles Gimenez, 12 Marcelo Bosch, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Raphael Lakafia, 7 Benoit Guyot, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Thibault Dubarry, 4 Erik Lund, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Benoit August, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Philippe Genevois, 17 Thomas Synaeghel, 18 Lodewicus Blaauw, 19 Pelu Taele, 20 Imanol Harinordoquy, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Jean-Pascal Barraque, 23 Seremaļa Burotu.

Referee: Greg Garner (England)

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