Parra puts boot into Worcester dream

Bourgoin 22 Worcester 11
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The Independent Online

Bourgoin will face Northampton in the final of the European Challenge Cup following a hard-fought victory over Worcester Warriors.

Worcester wing Miles Benjamin scored a late try but French scrum-half Morgan Parra booted 17 points to add to Coenraad Basson's second-half try.

Bourgoin dominated the early possession and held a clear edge in the scrum and that power at the set-piece laid the platform for scrum-half Parra to convert a ninth-minute penalty. Worcester levelled in the 28th minute through Joe Carlisle's close-range penalty and Mike Ruddock's men took the lead six minutes later through Carlisle's second penalty from just inside his own half.

Parra handed Bourgoin the perfect riposte two minutes after the restart with a 40-metre penalty before he claimed a hat-trick of penalty goals in the 51st minute to regain the lead for the hosts. The French side inched further ahead with Parra's fourth successful penalty in the 57th minute before Boyet added a 47-metre drop goal.

Bourgoin sealed victory when lock Basson touched down in the left corner and Parra added the conversion. Benjamin grabbed a late consolation try for Worcester but the damage had already been done by the French side's 19 unanswered points in 21 second-half minutes.

Worcester captain Pat Sanderson said: "It would have been great to make the final so there is obvious disappointment in the dressing room right now. But you can't fault the character of the lads. European rugby is a different brand of rugby and a whole different intensity and physicality.

"Bourgoin had that in bucketloads and we didn't have the firepower to come back. The injuries didn't help. We had players playing out of position in the front row and that showed in the first half. But credit to them for playing out of position and hanging in there. There's no criticism levelled towards them because Bourgoin were excellent in that area and made their dominance tell. We've no excuses."

Bourgoin: F Denos (A Forest, 47), D Janin (S Laloo, 61), M Viazzo, Y David, R Coetzee, B Boyet (M Forest, 72), M Parra, A Tchougong (P Cardinali, 60), JP Genevois (R Vigneaux, 64), K Wihongi, C Basson, C Levast, J Frier (W Jooste, 76), W Jooste (S Nicolas, 72), Y Labrit (T Genevois, 67).

Worcester: R Gear, C Fellows, A Grove, D Rasmussen (G King, 74), M Benjamin, J Carlisle, R Powell, C Black (L Fortey, 58), A Lutui, D Morris (S Ruwers, 37), G Rawlinson (W Bowley, 36), G Kitchener, T Wood (J Collins, 69), P Sanderson (C Pennell, 77), N Talei.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland).