Swansea fight back from the brink

Swansea 31

Begles 31

BRITISH-FRENCH relations were hardly enhanced the week after three players were dismissed at Stradey Park, as two of last season's Heineken Cup sides punched and kicked their way through this crucial Pool D European Conference match.

The fact that only one player, the Begles prop Olivier Sourgens, was dismissed by the Romanian referee Chiciu Niculae was remarkable enough. But the most mystifying thing of all was why Begles, by far the better footballing side, should continually attempt to out-muscle their opponents.

When they attempted to run the ball the Frenchmen were yards faster in thought and deed than their opponents. At times, Swansea looked like novices by comparison. By continuing the French trend of trying physically to intimidate and dominate their opponents Begles came badly unstuck as they were penalised 17 times to Swansea's three. Sourgens was dismissed when a Romanian touch-judge spotted a needless punch from behind on the Swansea flanker Alan Reynold.

The result means that Begles have to make up a 94-point difference on Swansea over the last weekend if they are to stand any chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. A tough task, even though they host Ebbw Vale next weekend and Swansea have to travel to Bourgoin.

The Begles coaching staff were pointing the finger very firmly at the Romanian officials for not having won the game, but as they led 26-0 lead in the first quarter they should surely be asking questions of their players.

Given first use of the strong wind it took the French side less than a minute to open their account when a high kick by their scheming skipper Guy Accoceberry was caught on the full by his half-back partner Michael Carre a few yards out and he was driven over for the score.

The lock Andre Berthozat was next to cross, sprinting 20 metres after a break from the back of a line-out, and then wing Thomas Ossard scored after a kick and chase over 50 metres. No sooner had he touched down than eight forwards from the two sides finally emerged from one of the many schoolyard brawls on the French 22.

Worse was to follow for the home side when an attack broke down through a careless pass on the Begles 22 and the error was turned into a try at the other end by Accoceberry.

At that stage Swansea were nothing short of a rabble. They lacked direction and found it difficult to cope with the physical French forwards. But things changed quickly. Scott Gibbs muscled his way through from 25 metres out in the last move of the first half and then Arwel Thomas waltzed his way over for another try with the first move of the second half.

Thomas earlier kicked a penalty and his two conversions reduced the gap to nine points. Swansea kept plugging away and, finally, found some rhythm in their rucking game. It enabled Mark Taylor to cross nine minutes from time and allowed Gibbs the pleasure of rounding off the revival with his second score, which turned out to be the last move of the game.

Swansea: A Clement (A Palfrey, 72-73); A Harris, M Taylor, S Gibbs, Simon Davies; A Thomas, R Jones; C Loader (K Colclough, 61), G Jenkins (captain), C Anthony, M Evans (S Moore, 21-34), J Griffiths, P Moriarty, A Reynolds, Stuart Davies.

Begles: P Fauthoux; A Bouyssie, L Lafforgue, S Loubsens, R MacDonald; M Carre, G Accoceberry (captain); P Collazo, L Dehez, O Sourgens, A Berthozat, C Mougeot (P Farner, 67), S Conchy, M Barrague, Y Lemeur (F Garcia, 41).

Referee: C Niculae (Romania).

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Warehouse & Business Intelligence Co-ordinator

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Required skills include SQL querying, SSRS, u...

Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?