Rugby Union: Llanelli hearts broken by Brive encounter

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The Independent Online
Brive 35 Llanelli 14

Llanelli were knocked out of the European Cup quarter-finals in Brive yesterday and now it is down to Cardiff to fly the Welsh flag at the same ground in the semi-finals.

Llanelli never recovered from conceding 19 early points in virtually as many minutes. Against a formidable Brive pack there was never going to be a way back and although the Scarlets never let their heads drop they were outgunned from first to last.

"They were too big and strong up front for us, we were devastated in the front five and the game was lost in the first 20 minutes," Gareth Jenkins, the Llanelli coach, said.

While Brive did come out with all guns blazing Llanelli certainly did their cause harm by conceding a glut of penalties. That presented Christophe Lamaison 10 penalty shots as they desperately tried to keep a rampant Brive pack in check. Lamaison could even afford to miss three of them and still end up with 25 points.

He started his one-man demolition job in the fourth minute before Llanelli had been able to land a constructive hand on the ball. He then converted Thierry Labrousse's seventh-minute try from a close range scrum, taking a couple of desperate defenders over the line with him.

Ieuan Evans had other ideas, snapping up the first chance that came his way. Frano Botica was twice involved as the ball was moved wide and when Wayne Proctor entered the line he made ground before kicking ahead. That made it a straight race between Evans and Sebastien Carrat which Evans won.

Botica added a superb conversion but Brive scored their second try just before half-time, albeit with what looked like a generous touch of luck.

David Venditti appeared to knock on before diving over but the try stood and Brive were well and truly in charge.

Evans did catch them asleep for a second Llanelli try but they were simply no match for a team that is going to take some stopping.

Brive: Tries Labrousse, Venditti; Conversions Lamaison 2; Penalties Lamaison 7. Llanelli: Tries I Evans 2; Conversions Botica 2.

Brive: S Viars; G Fabre, C Lamaison, D Venditti, S Carrat; A Penaud (capt, Y Heymans, 79)), P Carbonneau; D Casadei, L Travers (E Bouti, 52), R Crespy (A Bouti, 74), E Alegret, T Rees, Y Domi (F Duboisset, 32), G Kacala, T Labrousse.

Llanelli: W Proctor; I Evans (capt), M Wintle, N Boobyer, G Evans; F Botica, R Moon; R Jones, R McBryde, S John, S Ford, V Cooper, M Perego (P Morris h-t), I Jones, C Wyatt.

Referee: B Campsall (England).