Biarritz book home quarter-final
January 24, 2010
Biarritz and Glasgow go head to head again on Saturday
© Getty Images
Biarritz booked a home draw in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a 41-20 victory over Glasgow at Parc des Sport Aguilera.
Tries from Eddie Coetzee, Takudzwa Ngwenya, Ilikena Bolakoro and a penalty try saw the Top 14 side see off a determined Glasgow side who led by nine points at one stage but were unable to withstand a fierce comeback from the hosts. Victory guranteed Biarritz a place amongst the top four seeds in the last eight while Glasgow had the consolation of notching one of the tries of the season with scrum-half Chris Cusiter adding the finishing touches to a length of the field move.
Already assured of a quarter-final berth, the French side were seeking a return to winning ways having capitulated at the hands of Gloucester last weekend and they opened the scoring with a penalty from fly-half Valentin Courrent. But back came Glasgow with an opportunistic kick through from scrum-half Chris Cuister finding winger Thom Evans who collected the ball in his stride before sliding over for the opening try of the game with Parks adding the extras.
The Scottish side continued to frustrate the hosts and when Biarritz flanker Magnus Lund was caught on the wrong side at a ruck, Parks was able to stretch his side's lead. The Evans brothers then combined well down the shortside with Cusiter doing well to keep the ball alive before Biarritz lock Jerome Thion deliberately swatted the ball down in a bid to snuff out the danger. He was duly penalised and Parks stepped forward to hammer home his side's advantage.
Glasgow's Alastair Kellock was the next to feel the wrath of referee Dave Pearson's whistle and Courrent penalised the visitors by slotting his second penalty to reduce the arrears. A sense of urgency brought futher reward for Biarritz with their pack causing problems for Glasgow at a lineout that resulted in another penalty. But this time Courret's effort slipped wide of the posts.
Biarritz were not deterred and continued to exert the greater pressure and another penalty allowed Courrent to kick to the corner for another lineout. The catch and drive followed with Glasgow penalised again but the advantage allowed the Biarritz pack to re-group and drive loose-head prop Eddie Coetzee over for a try in the corner. Courrent failed to pull his side level when he pushed his conversion attempt just wide of the posts.
Glasgow reasserted themselves after the break and a strong run from Kellock drew a penalty from Biarritz but Parks was unable to slot the kick from out wide. That let off appeared to spark the hosts into life once more but they were stunned by a tremendous counter attack from Glasgow.
Some quick thinking from fullback Bernard Stortoni sparked the move after the Argentinian had claimed the ball deep inside his own 22. An initial injection of pace split the Biarritz defence and the ball was then worked through several pairs of hands before Cusiter popped up to take the scoring pass. Parks' simple conversion made it the maximum and took the visitors into a commanding nine point lead.
Biarritz looked for an immediate response and an offside infringement allowed Courrent to add to his personal tally and Glasgow's indiscipline cost them again soon after with Dan Turner penalised for going off his feet - allowing Courrent to kick his fourth penalty. He had a chance to slot his fifth just two minutes later after centre Graeme Morrison was penalised but this time the Biarritz No.10 failed to capitalise.
He redeemed himself just past the hour mark when a strong run from N.8 Imanol Harinordoquy forced another error from the Scots and his kick brought Biarritz back on level terms.
And they soon had the lead with Ngwenya stepping out of a Hefin O'Hare tackle before powering away down the touchline for a great try. Courrent's conversion put the hosts in control and firmly back on track for a home draw in the last eight.
Biarritz powered forward again with another strong surge from the forwards taking them over the Glasgow line but the score was ruled out by the Television Match Official. The resulting scrum gave them another chance to underline their superiority up front and the pressure told with Pearson awarding a penalty try.
The game was won but the home side were not finished yet with a penalty giving them another attacking platform from where a pick and go from Harinordoquy set up Bolakoro for the bonus point try. Courrent set the seal on the win with the conversion to set up a likely clash with Ospreys when the competition resumes later this year.
"The most exciting games of recent years have been in European competition; let's not destroy it. " Tom May on the Heineken Cup and why it means so much to the players
After Sam Egerton became the first person to be red carded in the Varsity match, Scrum Sevens looks at other high-profile dismissals at Twickenham
Tom Hamilton pays a visit to Oxford University Women's Rugby Football Club who have recently made headlines across the world, from Tokyo to New York