Saints Kydd shatters Biarritz

01st Apr 2007, 15:43

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Reign in Spain: Ben Cohen breaks through the Biarritz defence

Reign in Spain: Ben Cohen breaks through the Biarritz defence

Northampton Saints produced the shock of the tournament when they sent Heineken Cup favourites Biarritz crashing out in the quarter-finals, 7-6, at a sun-soaked Estadio Anoeta on Sunday.

Northampton Saints produced the shock of the tournament when they sent Heineken Cup favourites Biarritz crashing out in the quarter-finals, 7-6, at a sun-soaked Estadio Anoeta on Sunday.

The bookmakers gave struggling Northampton a 20-point start in the quarter-final tie against last season's runners-up in San Sebastien, but they got it all wrong in a scrappy game that had nothing for the purists, but plenty for Saints fans.

There was no score after 39 minutes of poor rugby and it was left to the boot of Dimitri Yachvili to edge his side in front, only for Robbie Kydd to stun home fans with a match-winning 60-metre intercept try.

With winger Phillipe Bidabe and scrum-half Yachvili looking dangerous, Saints spent much of the opening half hour on the back foot and their cause was not helped when inspirational winger Sean Lamont was helped from the field with a shoulder injury.

Tempers boiled over as the match approached half time, with scrum-halves Yachvili and Mark Robinson going toe to toe after yet another promising Biarritz back line move ended with a poor pass and a knock-on.

The French club eventually gave up on the idea of scoring five points, opting for goal instead, but even that did not come off as Yachvili's attempt from in front drifted off target.

The France international was given another chance on the stroke of half time and made no mistake to give the home side a 3-0 lead.

Saints' fly-half Carlos Spencer should have leveled the scores early in the second half, but his infamously wayward goal-kicking came back to haunt the visitors.

A break from Mark Robinson should have resulted in a Saints lead, but the move broke down in midfield and the game limped into the final quarter.

Northampton began leaking penalties and Yachvili finally converted one to double his side's lead.

But just as the French club pushed for a third score, Saints centre Kydd intercepted a Yachvili pass and ran 60 metres to turn the match on its head.

Spencer's conversion gave Saints a shock lead and Biarritz fans were stunned into silence.

Biarritz had the chance to steal it in the dying minutes, but backrow Imanol Harinordoquy spilled a Yachvili cross-kick with plenty of support on hand and the try-line begging to be crossed.

A desperate drop-goal attempt was charged down by a wall of Saints defenders and Biarritz's final two attacks both saw the ball knocked on.

The Scorers:

For Biarritz:
Pens: Yachvili 2

For Northampton Saints:
Try: Kydd
Con: Spencer

Biarritz: 15 Nicolas Brusque, 14 Philippe Bidabe, 13 Martin Gaitan, 12 Damien Traille, 11 Jean-Baptiste Gobelet, 10 Julien Peyrelongue, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Thomas Lievremont, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Serge Betsen, 5 David Couzinet, 4 Jerome Thion, 3 Denis Avril, 2 Benoit August (c), 1 Petru Balan,
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Noirot, 17 Benoit Lecouls, 18 Manuel Carizza, 19 Mohammed Dridi, 20 Julien Dupuy, 21 Marcelo Bosch, 22 Sereli Bobo.

Northampton Saints: 15 Paul Diggin, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Bruce Reihana (c), 12 Robbie Kydd, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Mark Robinson, 8 Christian Labit, 7 Ben Lewitt, 6 Paul Tupai, 5 Christian Short, 4 Matt Lord, 3 John Brooks, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Tom Smith.
Replacements: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Soane Tonga'uhia, 18 Mark Hopley, 19 David Gerard, 20 Darren Fox, 21 Johnny Howard, 22 Stephen Myler.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Touch judges: Hugh Watkins (Wales), Huw Griffiths (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)
Assessor: Paul Bridgman