Biarritz stay top
Sun, 02 Sep 2012 11:57
So we can continue to advance like that
Biarritz made it three wins out of three in the Top 14 on Saturday by taking an early home lead against champions Toulouse and holding on under pressure for a 22-17 win.
Veteran centre Damian Traille was the home side's try-scorer, dotting down after 29 minutes following a fine break from Welsh winger Aled Brew.
The rest of the Biarritz points came from the boot of flyhalf Jean-Pascal Barraque with a conversion and five penalties.
For Toulouse it was a first defeat of the season after two unconvincing wins and left coach Guy Noves with some selection headaches.
"We knew Toulouse were a big adversary," said Biarritz coach Jack Isaac. "Now the players are beginning to gain in confidence, especially the young ones, and the older players are leading by example.
"So we can continue to advance like that. It's the only third weekend of action in the league, there's a lot more to come."
Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir added: "We dominated territory all through the first half but could not capitalise on it. Biarritz were much more realistic."
In what was the first big showdown of the new season, Biarritz ran out onto a sun-splashed Aguilera stadium minus star turns Dimitri Yachvili and Imanol Harinordoquy, both of whom are on the injured list.
Reigning champions Toulouse were without All Black fly-half Luke McAlister, who has a bruised calf, but were able to welcome back France skipper Dusautoir along with first team regulars Jean Bouilhou and Gary Botha.
An early rash of penalties saw Biarritz take a 6-3 lead, despite the visitors making most of the running in the hot and windy conditions.
They then scored the game's first try after 31 minutes when the dangerous Brew broke clear from midfield following a line-out and turned inside to feed Traille, who scored under the posts.
A further exchange of penalties between fly-halves Barraque and Lionel Beauxis saw half-time reached with Biarritz enjoying a healthy, if slightly undeserved, 16-6 lead.
Toulouse continued to dominate possession into the second half with Biarritz put under further pressure by South African hooker Botha getting a yellow card, but all they had to show for their efforts were two penalties from Beauxis.
Barraque then extended the home lead again to 19-12 after 57 minutes with the Toulouse forwards penalised at a line-out and he made it 22-12 10 minutes later, sending over his fifth penalty out of six attempts.
Toulouse finally crossed the Biarritz goalline after 77 minutes when France winger Vincent Clerc dashed over in the corner after a looping pass from Beauxis, but the fly-half missed the conversion.
That gave the visitors a defensive bonus point but there was not enough time left for them to pull ahead.
Biarritz 22 Toulouse 17
Castres 31 Bayonne 10
Clermont 53 Perpignan 31
Montpellier 32 Agen 15
Racing Metro 18 Bordeaux-Begles 7
Grenoble 26 Stade Francais 12
Mont-de-Marsan 15 Toulon 29
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