Biarritz 5 - 0 Ulster
As if that wasn't a bad enough start for Ulster, things were to get worse 3 minutes later as Romanian International loosehead prop Petru Balan was awarded a try after the Referee had asked for some help from the video official. Biarritz were on a roll but Yachvili again missed the conversion although this was one was a decent effort from the touchline.
Biarritz 10 - 0 Ulster
Ulster did get some points of their own straight from the restart as Biarritz were guilty of blocking. David Humphreys calmly knocked the ball over to give Ulster 3 points.
Biarritz 10 - 3 Ulster
Ulster started to play with some confidence, bravely defending and looking to attack when they did manage to get their hands on the ball. However, if anybody needed any evidence that the Ulstermen were caught with their guard down, they were shown it on 14 minutes as Biarritz again broke, the ball going through a few sets of hands. Ulster guilty of some soft tackling were failing to put any pressure on the ball carriers, eventually the ball made its way out to Bidabe and the winger deftly chipped the onrushing Bryn Cunningham and beat Kieran Campbell to the ball for his second try of the game. This time Yachvili was able to add the extra points.
Biarritz 17 - 3 Ulster
Three tries inside 15 minutes and this game was beginning to sprint away from Ulster. Eventually though Ulster seemed to wake up and realise what was happening to them. They picked themselves up and decided to take the game to the home side and were rewarded for their efforts on 19 minutes. After a period of sustained pressure on the Biarritz line, Ulster impressively driving the French backwards. That man Neil Best picked up at the base of the ruck and crashed over beneath the attempted tackles from the Biarritz pack.
Biarritz 17 - 8 Ulster
The momentum of this game seemed to change with this score, now the French looked like the side in trouble. Ulster attacked from every opportunity, the much criticised scrum was fronting up and dominating Biarritz. Ulster were winning the Lion's share of the ball and the back line were starting to make breaks and look dangerous. Andrew Trimble does not seem to be phased by any standard of rugby and seems to rise to the occasion. On 22 minutes he broke through the Biarritz defence, breaking 3 or 4 tackles on a 40 metre burst before he was hauled down by 3 desperate defenders. The men in white, well this time Red, White and Black at last got something to show for the period of dominance. Offside in defence, Biarritz gave away a penalty bang in front of the sticks. David Humphreys wasted no time and kicked the penalty.
Biarritz 17 - 11 Ulster
In the dying minutes of the half, Biarritz were kicked a penalty of their own through Dimitri Yachvili.
Half-time: Biarritz 20 - 11 Ulster
All in all, Ulster would have been happy enough with the first half. Having weathered the storm they went into the break only 9 points down. Biarritz started the second half strongly aswell but time the defence from Ulster was faultless. The visitors were now playing like a French side themselves with both forwards and backs keen to run with ball in hand. Steinmetz replaced Topping in the 48th minute and Trimble moved onto the wing. Ulster were immediately on the attack again and the ball was kept alive with some fantastic off-loading in the tackle. Then the ball was spun to Andrew Trimble on the wing, he chased his own chip but the French winger Bidabe made in back just in the nick of time as Trimble pounced.
Ulster really were in the ascendency as could sense an upset, the silky Paul Steinmetz put through a great chip and the defence were forced to give away a penalty. To everyone's surprise Humphreys opted not to go for goal but instead nudge the ball into the corner to give his forwards a chance to drive over from the line-out. Even though the resulting line was scrappy, Ulster regrouped formed the wedge and drove the French over their own line. Captain Simon Best getting off the deck with a massive smile as he was awarded the score. Humphreys missed the difficult conversion.
Biarritz 20 - 16 Ulster
Yachvili knocked over another penalty after 64 minutes, scant consolation for the scrum-half after he had the try line begging and knocked the ball on from all of 1ft from the score.
Biarritz 23 - 16 Ulster
From the restart,Ulster won turnover ball and roared forward looking for that try to haul them level. At this stage it would have been the very least they deserved. Attacking in waves, Ulster were making huge inroads into the Biarritz defence, the support running was tremendous and left the Biarritz defenders in disarray. The ball was eventually set up underneath the Biarritz posts with attacking options both ways, Ulster looked certain to get that try. Enter David Couzinet, the French second row, he cynically came in on the wrong side and kicked the ball away destroying the attack for the visiting Ulstermen. Referee Nigel Whitehouse, rightly awarded the penalty but Couzinet most definately should have walked to the sidelines for 10 minutes reflection on what he had done wrong. Humphreys added the points bringing Ulsterto within 4 points.
Biarritz 23 - 19 Ulster
Bryan Young entered the arena for the last 10 minutes replacing the impressive Justin Fitzpatrick. Ulster could almost taste the victory and as Tommy Bowe came in from his wing to attempt an interception, the ball bounced backwards off him and straight into the arms of the Jean Baptiste Gobelet. There was no stopping the winger who had a clear run to the line. Yachvili added the extras and a drop goal deep into injury time ended the scoring and gave Biarritz the victory. Ulster can be proud of their display and what is for sure is that they mean business in this year's Heineken Cup.
Final Score: Biarritz 33 - 19 Ulster
|Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque Score Card|
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|