Bonus in defeat is a Goode thing for Saracens

Biarritz 15 Saracens 10

Parc des Sports Aguilera

Saracens salvaged a bonus point at the end of a ferocious Heineken Cup match. An attritional first half had ended scoreless, after Owen Farrell and Marcelo Bosch missed several shots at goal, before the Basque club scored tries in the second half through the France back-rower Imanol Harinordoquy and the US Eagles wing Takudzwa Ngwenya.

To the delight of the Saracens coaching staff, Alex Goode squeezed into the corner with the last play of the match, securing a bonus point that could well prove vital in Pool Five, which also includes the Ospreys and Benetton Treviso.

Saracens were dealt a blow in the build-up when the hooker Schalk Brits was given a three-week ban for a dangerous tackle in the win over Treviso in the first round of matches, but such is their strength in depth that they could call up another Springbok to take his place. Brits has three caps; his replacement, the 2007 World Cup winning captain, John Smit, has 111. He was making his first start for Saracens.

The Premiership champions were also without two international scrum-halves, Neil de Kock of South Africa and Richard Wigglesworth of England; the 19-year-old Ben Spencer wore the No 9 shirt. Biarritz were without an influential scrum-half of their own, France's Dimitri Yachvili.

Biarritz had the first chance to put points on the board but Bosch's penalty was wide. Farrell was off target with the boot 10 minutes later.

Biarritz's former England winger, Iain Balshaw, launched a counter-attack shortly before the half-hour to begin a frantic five minutes. Saracens responded with a James Short break down the left wing but after spreading the ball right, Chris Wyles squandered the overlap.

Biarritz had a sustained period of pressure in the closing stages of the half but they were unable to break Saracens' defence.

Saracens' fly-half, Charlie Hodgson, was unable to continue in the second half, due to a leg injury suffered in the first, but his team took the lead without him, on 51 minutes and through a Farrell penalty. That brought the home team to life and they responded with a brilliant try.

Balshaw launched a counter from his own line and following good interplay from the Biarritz pack down the left flank, the full-back, Dane Haylett-Petty, put a perfectly weighted kick to the corner for Harinordoquy, who was eventually named man of the match, to score.

Biarritz extended their lead with a Julien Peyrelongue penalty and they went a step closer to victory by scoring a second scintillating try, after 65 minutes. From another counter attack, Ngwenya sliced through the Saracens defence to score under the posts. Peyrelongue kicked the conversion for a 15-3 lead but Saracens came fighting back.

Short appeared to have given them a glimmer of hope with a try after 68 minutes but the television match official, Peter Ferguson, adjudged the ball to have been held up. After battling away for the remaining 10 minutes, Saracens got their reward when quick hands across the field released Goode to score the try in the corner and secure the bonus point. For good measure, Farrell converted.

Biarritz D Haylett-Petty; T Ngwenya, B Baby (J Peyrelongue, 52), D Traille, I Balshaw; M Bosch (I Bolakoro, 73), L Roussarie (Y Lesgourges, 60); F Barcella (F Gomez Kodela, 72), B August (capt; Heguy, 71), S Marconnet (Y Watremez, 71), J Thion, E Lund, B Guyot, R Lakafia (F Fauré, 73), I Harinordoquy (P Taele-Pavihi, 76).

Saracens C Wyles; D Strettle (A Powell, 72), O Farrell, B Barritt, J Short; C Hodgson (A Goode, 40), B Spencer; R Gill (D Carstens, 69), J Smit (J George, 61), M Stevens (C Nieto, 61), S Borthwick (capt), H Smith (M Botha, 48), K Brown, E Joubert, J Burger (A Saull, 6-13; 68).

Referee N Owens (Wales).


Tries: Harinordoquy, Ngwenya

Con: Peyrelongue

Pen: Peyrelongue


Try: Goode

Con: Farrell

Pen: Farrell

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot