Planet Rugby

Biarritz win Amlin Challenge Cup

18th May 2012 16:36

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Dimitri Yachvili

Dimitri Yachvili: Seven penalties

Biarritz scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili won the kicking duel against Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson to help his side claim the Amlin Challenge Cup.

The all-French final saw Biarritz edge Toulon 21-18 at the Stoop on Friday.

Yachvili kicked a perfect seven penalties to give the Basque club's first piece of continental silverware.

But the influential France scrum-half was fortunate to still be on the pitch when he landed the winning kick six minutes from full-time.

Just moments earlier, he had tripped Toulon scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde, a yellow card offence which referee Wayne Barnes missed.

Toulon had two players sin-binned early in the second half with former All Black prop Carl Hayman yellow-carded for a spear tackle on USA winger Takudzwa Ngwenya. He was quickly followed by former England flanker Steffon Armitage.

With the scores level at 18-18, Yachvili made the most of his lifeline to land the winning penalty in a disappointing final of Europe's second tier competition.

The win also meant Biarritz qualified for next season's Heineken Cup while big-spending Toulon, for whom Wilkinson kicked all the points, were left still waiting for a first European title.

Toulon had hung in there all game despite Yachvili's kicking masterclass and Wilkinson was in position for a last-gasp drop-goal attempt that would have brought extra-time.

But the Toulon pack left him stranded, conceding a penalty on the eighth phase of the attack that confirmed Biarritz's victory.

Biarritz had to win to qualify for the Heineken Cup for a 13th consecutive season after finishing ninth in the Top 14 following a disappointing domestic campaign.

The relief and joy was evident from the reaction of senior players like Damien Traille, while Toulon and Wilkinson now have to turn their attention to the Top 14.

Toulon, beaten Amlin Challenge Cup finalists in 2010, face Racing Metro in the Top 14 quarter-finals next weekend.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Pens: Wilkinson 5
Drop: Wilkinson

For Biarritz:
Pens: Yachvili 7

Toulon: 15 Benjamin Lapeyre, 14 Alexis Palisson, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 David Smith, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Kris Chesney, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Laurent Emmanuelli, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Joe El Abd, 20 Geoffroy Messina, 21 Dean Schofield, 22 Fabien Cibray, 23 Jocelino Suta.

Biarritz Olympique: 15 Iain Balshaw, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 13 Jean Pascal Barraque, 12 Damien Traille, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Julien Peyrelongue, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Benoit Guyot, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Pelu Taele, 4 Jerome Thion, 3 Eugene van Staden, 2 Arnaud Heguy, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Benoit August, 17 Sylvain Marconnet, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Erik Lund, 20 Talalelei Gray, 21 Charles Gimenez, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Ilikena Bolakoro.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

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