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banner Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Gibbs lifts the All Whites
Scott Gibbs powers his way through the Biarritz defence
Scott Gibbs powers his way through the Biarritz defence
Swansea 15-10 Biarritz

Arwel Thomas kicked five penalties to give Swansea a hard-fought Heineken Cup victory over Biarritz at St Helen's.

But the inspiration for the All Whites was skipper Scott Gibbs, who constantly made inroads into the visiting defence.

Swansea scrum half Sililo Martens failed a fitness test on a calf strain, so Robbie Jones started and veteran Robert Jones sat on the bench.

The former Wales captain only just made it to St Helen's having fulfilled a radio commentary commitment at Cardiff earlier in the afternoon.

It was the visitors who made the early progress and former Newcastle wing Stuart Legg was wide with a 40-metre penalty.

After a dull opening 15 minutes, it took a charge by Gibbs to lift the crowd and Arwel Thomas took the penalty opportunity to give the home side a 3-0 lead.

Geraint Lewis begins a Swansea attack
Geraint Lewis begins a Swansea attack
But the quality didn't improve after that as Biarritz wasted a scrum five metres from the All Whites' line and then Kevin Morgan was penalised for holding on after a rare fluid move.

Legg pushed another two penalties wide before Swansea's Brian Lima won the chase to a kick through by Biarritz's French international wing Philippe Bernat-Salles.

The visitors were building up a good momentum though, and flanker Christophe Milheres profited from a forward drive to dive over for a try five minutes before half-time, Legg converting to make it 7-3.

Gibbs and Geraint Lewis tried to lift their side with determined charges, and they earned a penalty which Arwel Thomes put over to narrow the visitors' lead to one point at the break.

Within two minutes of the interval, Biarritz had restored their advantage thanks to a Legg penalty.

Gibbs again provided a lift for the home crowd with a 40-metre burst, but Arwel Thomas missed the resulting kick.

The Swansea captain seemed to be playing the French side on his own and another powerful run was halted inches from the line by Jon Isaac.

Shaun Payne makes inroads into the Biarritz defence
Shaun Payne makes inroads into the Biarritz defence
The pressure led to another penalty, this time kicked by Arwel Thomas, before another Biarritz mistake helped the fly-half give the All Whites the lead.

He continued his fine run with a successful 45-metre attempt, before Biarritz prop Sielo Puleoto was yellow-carded for throwing a punch at a scrum.

But Swansea failed to make the most of their advantage, and saw Legg miss another attempt to bring his side closer.

The All Whites' then saw Dean Thomas yellow-carded for killing the ball before Robert Jones made his entrance to a warm round of applause.

Flanker Colin Charvis then hobbled off, worryingly before Wales' series of autum internationals, but Swansea hung on to record their second Heineken Cup win of the season.


Swansea: Pens: A Thomas 5.

Biarritz: Try: Milheres. Con: Legg. Pen: Legg.


Swansea: K Morgan; G Henson, S Payne, S Gibbs (capt), B Lima; A Thomas, Robbie Jones; D Morris, G Jenkins, B Evans, T Maullin, A Moore, C Charvis, G Lewis, D Thomas.
Reps: Robert Jones, N Witkowski, C Wells, A Le Chavalier, J Griffiths, H Jenkins, P Moriarty.

Biarritz: N Brusque; P Bernat-Salles, J-E Cassin, J Isaac, S Legg; J Peyrelongue, N Morlaes; S Puleoto, J-M Gonzalez (capt), D Avril, J-P Versailles, O Roumat, C Milheres, L Matiu, D Chouchan.
Reps: A Fitzgerald, A Curnier, P Menieu, E Bonnet, P Mazas, B Ilharreguy, J-P Bousses.

Referee: Andrew Ireland (Scotland).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Swansea coach John Plumtree
"We're still not back to our best"
Swansea substitute Robert Jones
"Relief, that's the word for it"
Links to more Heineken Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more Heineken Cup stories

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