Bordeaux-Bègles edge thriller against Exeter

Date published: January 16 2016

Bordeaux-Bègles scored five tries as they battled past Exeter Chiefs in a thrilling 34-27 victory in the Champions Cup at Stade Chaban-Delmas on Saturday.

Bordeaux stormed out of the blocks scoring back-to-back tries through Adam Ashley-Cooper and Blair Connor in reply to Will Hooley's early penalty.

A penalty from Pierre Bernard gave the impression that Bordeaux where pulling away but Dave Lewis got the visitors back in the game with counter-attacking try.

Bordeaux replied immediately through Louis Madaule but a try from Byron McGuigan complemented by another Hooley penalty capped of a terrific first-half comeback with the scores locked at 20-20.

Tries from Benat Auzqui and Max Bodilly halfway through the second-half saw the scores nudged up to 27-27, until with 10 minutes remaining Marco Tauleigne ran home to break Exeter hearts and seal a great win for the home side.

With two wins and two losses to their name going into this match Exeter knew that nothing but a win would do today against the French giants.

A Bordeaux infringement at the ruck saw Hooley open the scoring early with a kick at goal.

After a great break Connor's pass out to the wing was smothered but Ashley-Cooper managed to pick up the ball and slide home for the games first try. Bernard who looked sloppy in the opening minutes missed the conversion.

Bordeaux's offloading game continued to suck in Exeter defenders until Bernard found Connor on the opposite wing, who ducked and weaved his way through for a tremendously worked try. Bernard failed yet again to make the conversion count.

Exeter were pinged in the scrum right in front of the posts and Bernard bolstered the home lead by another three points.

A sloppy kick gifted the ball to McGuigan who delivered a sumptuous offload to Lewis for a much needed try under the posts for the visitors. Hooley swept the ball home with the conversion getting Exeter right back in the game at 13-10.

Bordeaux replied immediately with Madaule sneaking through for a try just two minutes later. After missing his first two conversion attempts Bernard made no mistake from the tee to hand his side a 20-10 lead.

Another sloppy kick gifted the ball to Michele Campagnaro who found Exeter's danger man McGuigan in support for the visitors' second try, Hooley converted to get Exeter back within three at 20-17.

On the stroke of half-time Bordeaux conceded a penalty for hands in the ruck and Hooley in irresistible kicking form snatched up the points to level the score at 20-20.

After a comparably quite start to the second-half Auzqui slipped through off the back of a driving line-out to put the home side back in front. Lionel Beauxis got his name on the scoresheet with the conversion after replacing Bernard at fly-half minutes earlier.

A quick break from the Chiefs and a brilliant one-two with Olly Woodburn saw Bodilly run through for a stunning score. Hooley maintained his 100 percent record from the tee, slotting another conversion and levelling the scores.

Approaching the 70-minute-mark Hooley rather dubiously saw yellow and the Chiefs paid dearly as Baptiste Serin found a rampaging Tauleigne who stormed through to return the lead to Bordeaux. Beauxis easily picked up two points from the conversion breaking Exeter hearts and sealing an impressive win against the spirited Chiefs.

The scorers:

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Tries: Ashley-Cooper, Connor, Madaule, Auzqui, Tauleigne
Con: Bernard, Beauxis 2
Pen: Bernard

For Exeter:
Tries: Lewis, McGuigan, Bodilly
Con: Hooley 3
Pen: Hooley 2

Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Metuisela Talebulamaijaina, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Loann Goujon, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Louis Madaule, 5 Adam Jaulhac, 4 Jan Andre Marais, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Benat Auzqui, 17 Sébastien Taofifenua, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Cyril Cazeaux, 20 Marco Tauleigne, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Lionel Beauxis, 23 Felix Le Bourhis.

Exeter: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Max Bodilly, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann (c), 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 Alex Brown, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Moray Low.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Carl Rimmer, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Julian Salvi, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Chrysander Botha.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)