Leeds 21 Perpignan 20: Ross' second take keeps Leeds in qualification race

The Tykes' three-match undefeated run looked as if it would come to an end against Perpignan yesterday when they made a terrible mess of two line-out drives in stoppage time. Yet at the third attempt the replacement hooker Gordon Bulloch was driven over the line.

Gordon Ross still had to kick the conversion from wide out on the right to ensure victory. Ross's first attempt flew wide, but the referee Nigel Owens ordered the kick to be taken again after several of Perpignan's players screamed and charged at Ross before the outside-half had started his run-up. Ross was dead on target on the second take.

The French protested to no avail as Owens blew for the end of a match which leaves Perpignan sharing top of Pool Two with Cardiff. Leeds are a point behind with plenty to play for.

Philippe Boher, Perpignan's coach, was dismayed. "Cardiff will be happy with this," he said, "especially as it was made by a Welsh referee. " He was also critical of his team, who had squandered far too many chances. "We made a lot of mistakes, with missed passes."

Perpignan looked far more self-assured and not until Leeds threw everything into the last few minutes did it seem as if the French side were beatable.

Perpignan had to recover from a smart try scored by the Leeds full-back Roland de Marigny, once Ross had opened the scoring with the first of two penalties. The French side responded through a superb try by their scrum-half Nicolas Durand with the conversion and a penalty from Nicolas Laharrague, setting up a 10-8 lead.

In the second half a Ross drop goal was countered by a try by Jean-Philippe Grandclaude, with Laharrague adding the extras and another penalty to make it 20-11. The Leeds fightback began with a Ross penalty before the shambles at the line-out and the nail-biting finish.

Leeds: Tries De Marigny, Bulloch; Conversion Ross; Penalties Ross 2; Drop goal Ross. Perpignan: Tries Durand, Grandclaude; Conversions Laharrague 2; Penalties Laharrague 2

Leeds: R de Marigny (T Biggs, 40); A Snyman, R Vickerman, C Jones (C Bell, 64), D Doherty; G Ross, J Marshall (D Care, 64); M Cusack (G Kerr, 6), R Rawlinson (G Bulloch, 68), R Gerber, S Hooper (capt), T Palmer, J Dunbar (S Morgan, 64), R Parks, J Crane.

Perpignan: M Edmonds; P Bomati, C Manas, J-P Grandclaude, F Cremeno N Laharrague, N Durand (S Dupuy, 79); P Freshwater (V Debaty, 72), M Konieck (M Tincu, 51), N Mas, C Gaston (C Porcu, 65), N Hines, G Le Corvec (V Vaki, 65), B Goutta (capt; O Tonita, 71), S Robertson.

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

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