August insists Saints were not taken lightly
April 2, 2007
Biarritz hooker Benoit August denies his team took Northampton lightly in the build-up to their shock Heineken Cup exit at the hands of the English strugglers in San Sebastian.
The Saints, currently bottom of the Guinness Premiership, pulled off the surprise of this year's tournament by scraping to a hard-fought 7-6 quarter-final victory in Spain on Sunday.
Biarritz, one of France's powerhouse clubs and runners-up to Munster last season, struggled for fluency throughout an error-strewn game and succumbed to a late, converted interception try by Robbie Kydd.
The hosts had been tipped to cruise into the semi-finals, where they would have had home advantage.
But they were denied by the plucky Saints, who showed some of the grit and determination they will need to avoid the domestic drop with three games left in the Premiership.
August, a squad member for France in their recent successful RBS 6 Nations Championship campaign, insists overconfidence was not the reason behind his side's defeat.
``In the elimination matches, you can get crippled,'' he said.
``We have been beaten by Northampton and nevertheless we prepared for this game with a lot of application.
``At no moment in the week did we take our foot off the pedal.
``They played with their heads, took their chance and we were not able to find the answers to beat them.''
Northampton came up against Biarritz in the pool stages, losing both home and away.
But Paul Grayson's side had a steely resolve at the Anoeta, tackling for their lives and keeping the much-vaunted home pack - which included the likes of Jerome Thion and Serge Betsen - at bay.
All the side from the south of France could muster was two penalties from Dimitri Yachvili.
However, it was the France scrum-half whose pass was picked off by Kydd for what proved to be the match-winning score.
August felt Biarritz ended up losing the game because of a lack of killer instinct.
He added: ``We had line-out ball, scrum ball, their line-out ball and some of their scrum ball, but we did not know what to do with it.
``We didn't know how to exploit them to our advantage. We weren't able to score at the times we were on top.
``They waited, waited, waited and they scored with an interception 10 minutes from the end.
``That killed us and we didn't know how to react.''
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