The wisdom of the decision to reorganise Italian rugby was in evidence in Viadana yesterday. Aironi, a "superteam" formed from seven clubs, beat Biarritz 28-27 in Pool Four of the Heineken Cup.
Aironi won with a late drop-goal from a Frenchman, Julien Laharrague. Two New Zealanders, the fly-half James Marshall and No 8 Nick Williams, and the Italy wing Matteo Pratichetti scored tries and a promising Italy scrum-half, Tito Tebaldi, kicked two penalties and two conversions. Takudzwa Ngwenya, Iain Balshaw and Charles Gimenez scored tries for Biarritz, who were also awarded a penalty try. Dimitri Yachvili kicked two conversions and a penalty. The Basques took two bonus points in defeat and stayed on top of Pool Four.
In Llanelli the other Italian team in the competition, Benetton Treviso, gave the Scarlets a scare before losing their Pool Five match 35-27. Sean Lamont scored twice for the Welsh region; Josh Turnbull and Regan King also scored tries. Rhys Priestland kicked 10 points and the Wales fly-half Stephen Jones kicked five points before suffering a knee injury. Gonzalo Garcia, Tommaso Benvenuti and Fabio Semenzato scored tries for Treviso.
In France in Pool One, Castres beat Edinburgh 21-16. Vincent Inigo and Steve Malonga scored tries for Castres; Romain Teulet kicked nine points and Pierre Bernard two. Simon Webster scored a try for Edinburgh; Chris Paterson kicked eight points and Ross Laidlaw three.
In the Amlin Challenge Cup, Exeter beat Newcastle 36-10 at Sandy Park to stay in touch with Montpellier in Pool Three. Ben Moon, Herbie Stupple, Matt Jess, Chad Slade and Andrew Higgins scored the Chiefs' tries; Ryan Davis kicked nine points and Phil Dollman two. Danny Williams and Micky Young scored tries for the Falcons.
In Pool Five, Gloucester won 13-6 away to La Rochelle. James Simpson-Daniel scored the only try of the game. In Pool Two, Sale lost 18-9 away to Brive. Alexis Palisson scored two first-half tries for the French club. Elsewhere, Stade Français beat Bucuresti 29-20 in Romania, Agen won 33-10 at Rovigo and Petrarca beat Cetransa El Salvador 37-10.
In the Heineken Cup today, London Irish face Toulon and Munster meet the Ospreys in the "group of death", otherwise known as Pool Three. In Pool Six, London Wasps go to Cardiff to play the Newport Gwent Dragons, as the Rodney Parade pitch is frozen. In Pool Two, Leinster are away to Clermont Auvergne. In the Amlin Challenge Cup, Harlequins are home to Connacht and Leeds are home to Parma.
England, who won in Dubai last week, lost 22-19 to New Zealand in the final of the second IRB Sevens World Series event in George, South Africa.Reuse content