Lund's lunge denies battling Warriors a win
Glasgow Warriors 18 Biarritz 22
Sunday 11 October 2009
If there were some glimpses of Glasgow's ability to make an impression at this level, they were lost in the assertion of a more painful truth. It is an old failing, but one that persists beyond the words of resolve that Sean Lineen, the Warriors' astute coach, had used to deliver the challenge to his team of being contenders in the Heineken Cup. Again, they were left with the regret of having been unable to sustain the best of their performance for long enough.
There was desperation in the way they sought the try in the closing minutes that would change the outcome of this Pool Two game, but that anxiety said enough in itself. It reminded us that Glasgow, having established an early advantage, allowed themselves to be overcome by a Biarritz side who were plainly some way removed from the heights of their fluency and purpose.
In the end, the match was reduced to a kicking contest between Dan Parks and Dimitri Yachvili, and it was the Frenchman who prevailed. And so, a familiar feeling of regret came to gather round the Glasgow squad.
"We played some great rugby at times," said Lineen, "but a couple of parts of our game were broken. The effort was there but Biarritz got easy points, from drop kicks and the try, which was very frustrating. I thought Johnny Beattie was outstanding, and Dan Parks did a lot of great stuff, but we made mistakes. It was never going to be a game of many tries, not with the kicking game Biarritz play away from home, and we set up to counter that. There was never going to be much in it, but Biarritz didn't win the game, we lost it."
The home side declared their ambition through the sharp accuracy of Parks' kicking. The outside-half dug into the great well of his self-belief and delivered three flawless penalties that established an opening- quarter lead. Parks was in a mood that suggested he believed anything might be possible. Midway through the first period, with a penalty having been awarded inside the Glasgow half, he delivered an enormous kick. The ball travelled fully 60 yards before dropping through the posts.
It was a point in the match when Glasgow looked to be revealing the scope of their resolve, having sustained a Biarritz revival that saw Yachvili, with a penalty, and Damien Traille, with a drop-goal, register their presence on the scoreboard. But Yachvili rose to the challenge laid down by his counterpart. Gracefully effective with his left-foot, the France scrum-half even struck his own grandly conceived penalty from the halfway line to take the score to 12-9.
If there was little in the way of expansive rugby to thrill the heart, the display of kicking was at least compelling. With Parks slicing one drop-goal attempt wide, it was Biarritz who regathered their poise and their full-back, Marcello Bosch, struck a close-range drop-goal to tie the scores at half-time.
Glasgow used the interval to restore some of their sense of purpose and after the re-start a moment of virtuosity seemed to have a reviving effect. Beattie, the impressive No 8, killed a long kick with the instep of his right foot, caught the ball and then surged 30 yards before being illegally halted. From the penalty, Parks restored the home side's lead.
Biarritz could still call on some of that old Gallic haughtiness, though, and they exploited a recurring weakness in the Glasgow line-out. Twice Dougie Hall was guilty of a wayward delivery and on a third occasion, only yards from the line, his throw was flapped back meekly, allowing Magnus Lund to bundle in for a try that Yachvili converted.
Parks, with a drop-goal, and Yachvili, with a penalty, traded scores again, but Biarritz held on to their advantage.
Glasgow Warriors B Stortoni (M McMillan, 65); D van der Merwe (H O'Hare, 40), D McCall, R Dewey (P Horne, 70), T Evans; D Parks, C Gregor; J Welsh (K Tkachuk, 52), D Hall (P Macarthur, 52), M Low (E Kalman, 75), T Barker (D Turner 66), A Kellock (capt) (Turner, 28-34), R Vernon (K Brown 60), J Barclay, J Beattie.
Biarritz M Bosch; T Ngwenya, A Erinle, D Traille, N Brusque; J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; E Coetzee (F Barcella, 40), R Terrain, (B August, 40) C Johnstone, J Thion (capt), P Taele (M Carizza, 63), M Lund, I Harinordoquy, F Fauré (W Lauret, 63).
Referee: W Barnes (England).
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