Rugby Union: Bitter vintage for Scarlets in claret country

Begles-Bordeaux 48 Llanelli 10
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LLANELLI LAST night tended to some battered bodies in Bordeaux as they reflected on another unsuccessful Welsh foray into French territory.

Fourteen times Welsh clubs have travelled hopefully across the Channel in the four seasons of the European Cup. Only Cardiff, with a 14-14 draw here at the Stade Andre Moga in 1995, have managed to avoid defeat.

The Scarlets had shipped 49 points against Stade Francais the previous week, but they could plead mitigating circumstances for taking another hammering. A bizarre succession of injuries among their backs during the first half hour - Nigel Davies, Stephen Jones and Wayne Proctor were all forced from the field - undermined some encouraging work done by the forwards.

Begles had lost three out of three in Pool A before yesterday and their lack of confidence was evident as they failed initially to punish Llanelli's disarray behind the scrum. But it was disarray in the scrum, leading to a snatched try in the 34th minute by scrum-half Guy Accoceberry, which kick-started Begles' effort.

Six more tries peppered the Llanelli line but, with the score at 31-3 after 52 minutes, Begles replaced their entire front row and, for a short time, Llanelli found some respite. The replacement lock Tony Copsey was held up as he drove for the line and a flowing threequarter move also ended just short of a try when a pass to another replacement Aled Thomas went to ground.

The lull in Begles' scoring was rudely ended with a burst of three tries in eight minutes. The game was up and a try in the 80th minute by Ian Boobyer was no consolation as Llanelli slipped to the bottom of this pool, knowing they need at least to win away to Leinster in three weeks if they are to join Stade Francais in the quarter-finals.

Begles: Tries Accoceberry, Martin 2, Brouzet 2, Dongieu Ntamack; Conversions Fauthoux 5, Penalty Fauthoux. Llanelli: Try I Boobyer; Conversion Rogers: Penalty: Rogers.

Begles-Bordeaux: J-M Souverbie; A Bouyssie, T Ossard (G Perais, 66), L Martin, C Schuwer (S Palmer, 52); P Fauthoux, G Accoceberry (B Andreu, 47); P Collazo (F Garcia, 52), L Delpech (M de Rougement, 52), O Sourgens, Y le Meur (D Gerard, 39-40; 66), O Brouzet (capt), C Dongieu, L Loppy, M Barrague (F Ntamack, 40).

Llanelli: D Rogers; W Proctor (A Thomas, 31), N Boobyer, N Davies (R Boobyer, 14), G Evans; S Jones (D Williams, 21), R Moon; P Booth, R McBryde (capt) (J Hyatt, 41), M Madden (S Gale, 78, V Cooper (T Copsey, 52), M Voyle, D Hodges, I Jones (I Boobyer, 70), C Wyatt.

Referee: G Hughes (England).