Biarritz score crucial win over Perpignan

29th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 28, 2007 (AFP) - Biarritz leapfrogged Perpignan into fourth place of the French championship, the league's final play-off spot, with a hard-fought 23-15 win on Saturday.

PARIS, April 28, 2007 (AFP) - Biarritz leapfrogged Perpignan into fourth place of the French championship, the league's final play-off spot, with a hard-fought 23-15 win on Saturday.

Biarritz scored all their 23 points in the second-half, thanks to a try each from Fijian winger Sireli Bobo and No 8 Thomas Lievremont and 13 points from the boot of Dimitri Yachvili, including a 63rd-minute drop-goal.

Perpignan led 6-0 at half-time at their Aime-Giral stadium through the first two of fly-half Nicolas Laharrague's five penalties.

But the hosts lost the wind advantage in the second half and with that any real attacking threat.

Biarritz coach Patrice Lagisquet was happy with his side's performance against the Calatan club.

"We played within our limits in the first half," the former France flyer said. "But that changed and we showed both in defence and in refinding our spark and linking game that we're not a team that's going badly."

Perpignan lock Olivier Olibeau lamented his side's fading away in the second period.

"The problem was that we played the whole match back to front," he said.

"In the first half we should have been more enterprising while we were happy to play a kicking game. And in the second half we left ourselves badly exposed."

Biarritz still have it all to play for, however, to make sure of their place in the last four, with a crucial game against Top 14 leaders Stade Francais next weekend.

The Parisians, who welcomed back the vaunted quartet of Christophe Dominici and forwards Pieter De Villiers, Rodrigo Roncero and Sergio Parisse, moved to within two points of securing their own semi-final spot with a 24-17 win over Montauban.

Stade were 10 points down at half-time but were re-energised after the break with the introduction of flanker Remy Martin and went on to score tries through hooker Mathieu Blin and Argentinian full-back Ignacio Corleto, with compatriot Juan Hernandez contributing three penalties, one conversion and a drop-goal.

Stade coach Fabien Galthie said: "We had a good first half as far as intention and enterprise go. Unfortunately, we dropped 15 easy balls, didn't concentrate for several moments and gifted them 17 points.

"The players managed a quite exceptional second half," the former France scrum-half said.

Second-placed Clermont confirmed their impressive late season form with a 40-9 run-out against Bourgoin that will go a long way to confirming them a top-four berth.

A series of games likely to have a large bearing on the relegation battle left the bottom seven clubs within five points of each other.

Castres snuck out a vital 17-15 win over Brive to top the strugglers, but Agen and Bayonne could only eek out a 16-16 draw, while Montpellier posted a 23-14 win over Albi, who remain just one point ahead of bottom-of-the-table Narbonne.

Agen president Daniel Dubroca was upset his team had failed to win against Bayonne.

"It's obviously a great disapointment for us. We've lost two more points at home and our end of season will be tricky."

In Friday's game, mercurial France outside-half Frederic Michalak, playing in his first full game for six months, helped Toulouse to a 41-10 rout of Narbonne.

Toulouse were out to cement their place in the league's top four and they achieved their goal in style with Michalak playing a major role in setting up Cedric Heymans for the first of his four tries.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde contributed 19 points to Toulouse's tally with the help of his reliable boot.

Toulouse moved up a place to second behind Stade Francais who take on Montauban later on Saturday.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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