/ Rugby

Biarritz 19-21 Toulouse: As it happened

Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2010 20:51

David Skrela is hammered by Magnus Lund at the Stade de France
David Skrela is hammered by Magnus Lund at the Stade de France

Holy moley, that was a seriously tense finalé. Biarritz looked beaten and worse, resigned to being beaten, until Ngwenya and Hunt conjured up a try out of nowhere to give themselves five minutes to pull off an incredible win. Toulouse, who looked for all the world like they were cruising to the title, steeled themselves and held on under real pressure to claim their fourth Heineken Cup crown. No question that over the 80 minutes - and the year - that Toulouse are worthy champions. That's it, stay with us on RTÉ.ie for the Champions League final in an hour.

Result: Biarritz 19-21 Toulouse

80 mins Kelleher claims the scrum and boots the ball into touch as the clock goes red. Toulouse hold on!

79 mins Skrela clears and Ngwenya stuters and tries to sneak through the line - he can't find a gap and he's smothered. Biarritz move it wide, but Balshaw's blind pop pass goes into touch.

78 mins Toulouse claim their lineout, Kelleher eventually recovers it and looks to box kick but Lund charges it down. They stay inside their 22. Time is now the enemy for the Basque team.

76 mins Biarritz claim the lineout and Balshaw again sprints wide and finds Ngwenya is off again, but he's stopped in his tracks. Peyrelongue steps back and finds a great touch inside the Toulouse 22. They're going for it and the pressure is on Toulouse.

75 mins Skrela calls for the mark and finds touch on the halfway. The men in black - cruising to victory two minutes ago - look edgy.

74 mins Skrela's restart is straight out! Biarritz play it in quickly and Balshaw goes out wide and speeds through, pops out to Ngwenya, who this time is hauled into touch on the 22. Game on!

73 mins Out of nowhere! Biarritz move wide and finally find a chink in the armour. Ngwenya accelerates through the gap for a two-on-one against Medard - he pops it out to Karmichael Hunt and he cruises over for a try. Courrent converts.

TRY FOR BIARRITZ

72 mins Straight away Toulouse are right back at them - sub Yann David is on for Fritz and he introduces himself to the Biarritz line by powering through them. It takes three to haul him down and he still manages to crawl for a few more yards.

70 mins Skrela just pushes that one wide. And Yachvilli is hauled off, Valentin Courrent comes on. Big call.

69 mins Biarritz's pack succumbs again and it's another penalty to Toulouse. It's right in the corner of the opposition's half - a long, long way from the posts, but Skrela fancies it.

68 mins Right at the right hand wing and Skrela really has his groove on today. That might be that unless Biarritz can conjure up something unexpected.

THREE POINTS TO TOULOUSE

66 mins Great scramble defence on the outside - Mignardi hauls down Clerc as he bursts though. But he lies on the ball and it's a pen. Chance to stretch the lead for Skrela.

64 mins Normal service, Toulouse drive Biarritz's pack several yards back and break it apart. Toulouse set it up and press on. Biarritz recover a garryowen, but they cough it up trying to shuffle it around. More pressure from the men in black - a score here could end the contest.

63 mins There's life in this game yet though - Biarritz pull off a sneaky against-the-head and move it wide quickly. Sharp hands by Mignardi almost send Balshaw away, but it's lost forward. They just don't look like they can convert a backline opportunity. They need to get it in the hands of Ngwenya and get out of his way.

62 mins Another scrum, another embarassment for Biarritz. They are shunted back fully five yards by the men in black. Ouch.

60 mins Toulouse, back to full strength, tap and go and run straight at Biarritz. Clerc tries to worm his way through the line, but he has the ball ripped clean off him and Biarritz clear. The way things are at the minute, there only looks to be one winner and it ain't the Basque team.

58 mins Toulouse batter away on the Biarritz 22 again and, again, it's spun back to Skrela who, again, chips it over for another sweet dropper. And Albacete is back on.

THREE POINTS TO TOULOUSE

56 mins Big garryowen into the Biarritz 22 by Skrela and Jauzion claims with typical authority. However, he's turned over on the deck. Biarritz's last-line defence really has been excellent today - and it's been needed several times.

55 mins Clever chip ahead from Yachvilli down the wing and Ngwenya blasts through to try and claim, but the bounce deceives him and he barrels into Poitrenaud full tilt. He emerges from treatment with a bandaged chin.

54 mins That's really impressive - scrum down for Biarritz, they've an extra man, but Toulouse still push them back. Yachvilli gets it away just in time.

53 mins Biarritz try to work through the phases on the Toulouse 10 metre line. The Basque side need to score while their opponent's are down a man.

51 mins Toulouse right back where they were with 14 - piling on the pressure inside the Biarritz 22. They're not making too much ground, so they spin it back to Skrela in the pocket and that's a solid drop goal. Great response.

THREE POINTS TO TOULOUSE

49 mins Yachvilli taps over the resultant penalty and the game is back on.

THREE POINTS TO BIARRITZ

YELLOW CARD FOR TOULOUSE

48 mins Wow - Benoit August steals from a Toulouse lineout inside his own 22 and boots it forward. The hooker barges on and no Toulouse player seems too bothered about chasing back. August hacks on and looks likely to score until Albacete hauls him down without the ball. Yellow card straight away. August would likely have been caught by defenders, but cynical tackle.

47 mins From the left wing, Kelleher spins it and it's through the hands. Men over on the right, Medard only has to catch it to score - but he doesn't. He fumbles it forward. That's five points gone.

46 mins Fritz sidesteps his way through two tacklers and Toulouse are really turning it on now.

44 mins Bouilhou and Dusautoir combine well to break through and make quick yards in the Biarritz half. They're up to the 22, but Biarritz scramble back well and even turn it over in the tackle.

43 mins Medard chips through and is taken out by defenders - his kick nestles over the tryline and gives Clerc a chance, but Ngwenya covers well.

42 mins Biarritz start the half with some sustained possession, but they're bashing against a brick wall - no yards gained after the 10 metre line. Imanol has removed his mask - it's a pretty warm evening in France.

40 mins We're off again at the Stade de France.

1750 Hello to Milissa tuning in from New Jersey, cheering on Toulouse. You're on the right horse, it would appear.

1745 Three in it, but Toulouse are very much on top. They are brutalising Biarritz in the scrum - so much so that Biarritz are opting to kick instead of pack down. Also, when they get the ball in hand - as they did more and more later in the first half - Toulouse look very dangerous and are running at, and through, the Biarritz line. Yachvilli's perfect boot is the only thing keeping the Basque team in touch at the moment.

Half time Biarritz kick to touch from halfway in possession to end the half. They are only three points down, but they look rattled and want to get to the dressing room.

THREE POINTS TO TOULOUSE

39 mins Telling call there - Biarritz opt to drop out rather than take the scrum, as they're being pounded up front. Jauzion makes amends straight away then, blasting into the line and catching Biarritz offside. Advantage coming, so Skrela tries a free drop goal and it falls through off the post.

37 mins Toulouse really ramping it up in the loose now - Sowerby swivels through a couple of tackles, then Kelleher shrugs off a couple more. From the 22 though, Jauzion's chip to the corner runs straight out - weak.

36 mins Skrela, past the 10 metre line to the right side, strokes it home with some aplomb to tie it up.

THREE POINTS FOR TOULOUSE

35 mins Biarritz infringe at the lineout there and a simple call for Barnes offers another shot for Skrela.

33 mins Fritz sidesteps, finds some space and pops off to Medard who burns on a great line right through the line. He tries to take Balshaw on the outside, but the full back hauls him down just shy of the line. It's recycled, but Clerc is hit hard and knocks forward. Exciting break from the Toulouse backline.

32 mins Straightforward effort by Skrela and the scoreline tightens up. Toulouse's dominance of the scrum could prove telling in the end, although their lineout is a mess so far.

THREE POINTS TO TOULOUSE

30 mins Another huge scrum by Toulouse leaves Biarritz reeling. Penalty and Skrela should score from in front of the posts. Far enough out though.

29 mins Yachvilli's kicking looks effortless and lethally accurate. If he keeps that up, Toulouse will have a lot of work to do.

THREE POINTS TO BIARRITZ

28 mins Fritz knocks Balshaw on his ass, but the ball's nowhere around, so it's another chance on the left touchline for Yachvilli.

27 mins Toulouse's up-front defence looks really impressive so far and although Biarritz have much more possession, they haven't made any real ground and their opponents look very dangerous when they do have the ball in hand.

25 mins Biarritz are trying to push it wide, but it's broken down every time out wide. Hunt's loose pass is hacked upfield by Clerc and Mignardi gathers under pressure. Lucky for him, Toulouse are overeager in their pursuit and it's a clearing penalty.

23 mins Two lineouts in a row lost by Toulouse out the back. They're afraid of Thion & Imanol in the front and middle.

21 mins MASSIVE boot from Fritz, straight on, but in his own half. Crikey.

THREE POINTS TO TOULOUSE

20 mins Tap-and-go from Toulouse, Clerc is enveloped by the Masked Avenger Harinordoquy, but it looks like he's trying to pull his head off, so Barnes awards a pen. Fritz to attempt from far out.

19 mins Toulouse number eight Sowerby is eaten up by Trevor Hall, who lifts him up and carries him back a few yards. Eat it.

18 mins First up-and-under there from Biarritz and Jauzion claims well - Lund lies all over the ball and it's a pen. Skrela clears.

16 mins Whereas the post spat out Skrela's effort, the woodwork welcomes Yachvilli's kick with open arms. A metaphor for the game ahead? Or simple geometry? Shut up? Ok.

THREE POINTS FOR BIARRITZ

15 mins Gobelet makes hard yards for Biarritz and then Clerc comes in at that side - penalty. Yachvilli should score for here, but it is on the wrong side for the left-footer.

14 mins Not many phases - after two attacks, Yachvilli has a crack at a dropper which drifts just wide. No messing around from either side.

13 mins Skrela sends his clearance out on the full and Biarritz are in a decent attacking position, going through the phases on the 22.

11 mins Clang - Skrela finds the upright and the ball is sent wide to Ngwenya who puts the boot down and leaves half the Toulouse line in his dust before Medard pulls him down on halfway.

10 mins Yikes - Toulouse put in a thunderous scrum to leave the Biarritz eight on their arse - Poux destroyed his opposite number there. Penalty and should be three for Skrela.

9 mins Skrela again charges into the Biarritz line and makes solid ground with a rare show of pace. It's all in the hands for Toulouse.

8 mins First bit of French cheek - Medard receives on the touchline, nowhere to go. He opts to grubber and run outside his opposite number, a la Pele, but Balshaw's there to cover.

7 mins Skrela blasts into the line again - he's not shirking the contact early doors. But this time he loses it forward in the hit.

6 mins Toulouse make some ground with a rolling maul up the touchline before Skrela is scythed down by Thion. Penalty and Toulouse kick to touch, moving up to the 22.

5 mins Yachvilli strokes it home - makes that monster kick look so easy.

THREE POINTS TO BIARRITZ

3 mins First lineout to Biarritz and they win a penalty as Toulouse try to sneak into the line early. Yachvilli will try a long range effort from just inside the opposition half in the corner.

1 mins Both sides very eager at the first scrum and Barnes hands Toulouse a free kick. Off they go, through the hands and Dusautoir breaks the line off a lovely inside pass. It's popped out quick to Skrela on the 22, but his attempted dropper is blocked.

0 mins Damp squib of a start - doesn't go ten. Scrum down on halfway.

1700 The players take to the pitch with a notable look of nerves of the face of Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir. Biarritz's Harinordoquy has his face mask on again - hopefully he'll solve some crimes during the game.

1655 The Stade de France looks - as ever - magnificent, a classic arena and a sensational experience for fans and, I assume, players. I have seen Ireland put to the sword there a couple of times. Not long to go now folks, Sky is ramping up the chat, there are flamethrowers on the sideline - razz and indeed matazz are in place.

1650 Any roundball fans out there, Blackpool have joined the ranks of the English Premier League. Fair dues, although I'll take your money now that they'll be relegated straight away.

1640 There will be no wilting or lack of steel from Biarritz today. The side that crumbled in the 2006 Heineken Cup final against Munster has been significantly steeled by the appointment of Jean-Michel Gonzalez, a former prop for the Basque side. It has been reported that before games this season, he has all the backs lie on the dressing room floor and let the fatties literally walk all over them in studs. Nothing like shoe pie to wake you up. I can't imagine Poitrenaud, Clerc, Medard and Skrela lining up for that sort of motivation.

1630 One man who may have a huge influence on today's result is England's Wayne Barnes - the man with the whistle. You may know him as the tall, skinny, blond nerd ref, or some combination of those terms. He can be a total narc with the whistle and I suspect he will have no difficulty in deciding this contest on his own via penalties. To wit - Toulouse's Skrela is a famously streaky goal kicker, whereas Biarritz's Yachvilli - as Munster well know - is a steadier prospect. Still, let's hope for Gallic sauciness and a shedload of tries.

1625 If you're joining us today from far afield, do please drop us a line and let us know where you are at sportonline@rte.ie. Match starts at 5pm by the way.

1620 The Toulouse side is undeniably impressive and on paper, they have more than enough weapons to win this match. As they showed in the semi and down through the years, Guy Noves' outfit can simply blow the opposition away when they turn it on. Perfect weather for running rugby in Paris as well. Biarritz, however, have a juggernaut of a pack and, in Imanol Harinordoquy, an inspirational leader and a sensational all-round player. For me, he was far and away the best on show in this year's Six Nations. If Biarritz can keep it tight, they can certainly grind out a win, but the smart money is on a fourth Heineken Cup crown for Toulouse.

1615 Let's have a look at those teams in full.
Biarritz: I Balshaw; T Ngwenya, A Mignardi, K Hunt, J-B Gobelet; J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; E Coetzee, B August, C Johnstone, J Thion (capt), T Hall, M Lund, W Lauret, I Harinordoquy.
Subs: R Terrain, F Barcella, R Hugues, M Carizza, F Faure, V Courrent, P Bidabe, A Erinle.

Toulouse: C Poitrenaud; V Clerc, F Fritz, Y Jauzion, M Medard; D Skrela, B Kelleher; J-B Poux, W Servat, B Lecouls, R Millo-Chluski, P Albacete, J Bouilhou, T Dusautoir (capt), S Sowerby.
Subs: V Bernat Basualdo, D Human, C Johnston, Y Maestri, L Picamoles, J-B Elissalde, Y David, C Heymans.

Referee: Wayne Barnes.

1610 The two sides today are nothing short of a commentator's nightmare. Especially one who has to type quickly. For example: Takudzwa Nqwenya, Julien Peyrelongue, Imanol Harinordoquy, Romain Millo-Chluski, Alberto Vernet Basualdo. The fingers will be falling off me, I tells ya. There may be a few moments of feigned ignorance throughout busier sections of the play - 'the Biarritz lock, the Toulouse prop' and so on. Imagine Mr. Hook trying to wrap his particular jowls around these names.

1605 Paris could have been crawling with blue and red fans today - no doubt there's still a stackload of optimistic forward-planners there anyway - but as Leinster and Munster were outmuscled and outplayed by Biarritz and Toulouse in the semis, the two best teams take to the pitch at the Stade de France. Fair play to them.

1600 Welcome one and all as we cast our disappointed eyes on a match that could have been so much more for Irish rugby. The match kicks off at 5pm Irish time and we'll talk you through it all here on RTÉ.ie.

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