Clermont comeback stuns Biarritz
May 13, 2011
Biarritz scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili scores the game's opening try in Clermont-Ferrand
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Clermont Auvergne kept their hopes of a second successive Top 14 title alive by coming from 14 points down to defeat Biarritz 27-17 in an absorbing play-off semi-final at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Friday night.
Clermont opened the scoring with a 12th-minute penalty from fullback Anthony Floch but France scrum-half Dimtiri Yachvili responded in kind for the visitors before touching down just before the half hour mark to turn the game in Biarritz's favour. Yachvili converted his own score and was also on hand to add the extras after his half-back partner Julien Peyrelongue dotted on 38 minutes to make it 17-3 to the Basques.
The home side needed a boost and they got one right on the stroke of half-time when Morgan Parra slotted a penalty. That timely score proved the catalyst for a stirring Clermont fightback. They drew to within four points when fly-half Brock James dived over for a converted try seconds after Biarritz fullback Iain Balshaw had been sent to the sin bin at the end of the third quarter and they moved ahead when flanker Alexandre Lapandry touched down with just over ten minutes remaining.
A shell-shocked Biarritz tried to rally but Clermont were now rampant and the reigning champions set up a mouth-watering clash with Toulouse when winger Julien Malzieu raced through to score in the closing stages.
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