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Bayonne triumph in Basque derby

02nd March 2014 15:02

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joe rokocoko bayonne v biarritz 2014

Try-scorer: Joe Rokocoko

A last-gasp Scott Spedding drop-goal ensured Bayonne a sweet, hard-fought 11-8 derby victory over bitter rivals Biarritz on Sunday.

A Stephen Brett penalty opened the scoring for the visitors, before ex-All Black flyer Joe Rokocoko was adjudged to have grounded the ball over the home line for a crucial five-pointer. Fellow Kiwi Brett was off target with the conversion.

Things got worse for Biarritz minutes later, as centre Seremaia Burotu was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Rokocoko; the TMO again called into action.

Despite the man advantage, Bayonne could not muster more points as the first half drew to a close - Brett's long-range penalty effort that slipped wide of the uprights the nearest they came to extending their 8-0 lead - while Biarritz spurned a number of attacking opportunities through imprecision and indiscipline at crucial moments.

The second half was a scrappy affair, punctuated by errors and turnovers in poor conditions, but Biarritz drew level as flying USA winger Takudzwa Ngwenya crossed the line, and substitute Dmitri Yachvili slotted a penalty.

Both sides battered one another in an effort to strike what would prove the decisive score as the clock ticked by, but it was the visitors who produced the game-breaking play.

With less than five minutes left, Scott Spedding found touch with an excellent penalty punt, and from the resultant lineout, the Bayonne pack mauled their way towards the home line.

The forwards drew a penalty, but it wasn't needed, as Spedding stepped back into the pocket and slammed home the winning drop-goal.

The scorers:

For Biarritz:
Try: Ngwenya
Pen: Yachvili
Yellow: Burotu

For Bayonne:
Try: Rokocoko
Pen: Brett
Drop: Spedding

The teams:

Biarritz: 15 Paul Couet-Lannes, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Charles Gimenez, 12 Seremaia Burotu, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Dan Waenga, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Ueleni Fono, 7 Tanguy Molcard, 6 Benoît Guyot, 5 Addison Lockley, 4 Erik Lund, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Arnaud Heguy, 1 Fabien Barcella
Replacements:16 Jean-Philippe Genevois, 17 Eugène van Staden, 18 Thibault Dubarry, 19 Imanol Harinordoquoy, 20 Dimitri Yachvili, 21 Julien Peyrelongue, 22 Teddy Thomas, 23 Ben Broster

Bayonne: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Saimoni Vaka, 13 Joe Rokocoko, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Marvin O'Connor, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Mathieu Belie, 8 Dwayne Haare, 7 Julien Puricelli, 6 Jean-Jo Marmouyet, 5 Mark Chisolm, 4 Dewalt Senekal, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 David Roumieu, 1 Aretz Iguiniz
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 JC van Rensburg, 18 Abdel Boutaty, 19 Jean Monribot, 20 Guillaume Rouillet, 21 Matthieu Rougalde, 22 Martin Bustos-Moyano, 23 Gert Muller

Referee: Mathieu Raynal

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