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banner Saturday, 3 November, 2001, 19:23 GMT
Legg puts boot into Swansea
Scott Gibbs is stopped by the Biarritz defence
Scott Gibbs' efforts failed to inspire Swansea
Biarritz 24-15 Swansea
Heineken Cup Pool 3

Swansea's lack of a scoring edge cost them dear at the Parc des Sports Aguilera, as they slumped to a costly defeat against Biarritz.

The Frenchmen gained revenge for the loss at St Helen's last week, effectively ending the All Whites' slim hopes of advancing from Pool 3.

Skipper Scott Gibbs and scrum-half Sililo Martens worked tirelessly in attack but a sluggish Swansea rarely threatened to break their try-scoring duck in Europe this season.

Swansea suffered an early blow as Wales back row Geraint Lewis was stretchered off with damaged medial ligaments, which are likely to rule him out of the autumn internationals.


Geraint Lewis was stretchered off with a knee injury

Both sides failed to generate any momentum, with balls being spilled or knocked-on, but matters weren't helped by Irish referee David Tindall who was all too ready with the whistle.

As a result the first half ultimately proved a scrappy, disjointed affair, only given shape by an excellent display of kicking from the boots of Stuart Legg and Gavin Henson.

Henson, preferred at fly-half for Swansea in place of Arwel Thomas, struck all four of his kicks at goal in the first half.

His opponent in the Biarritz side, Scottish wing Legg, was only slightly less effective, striking three out of his four attempts to leave the half-time score 12-9 to the visitors.

The game caught alight immediately after the restart as Biarritz opted to kick for touch, allowing replacement prop Sotele Puleoto to rumble over for a try from the five-metre lineout.

Legg slotted the easy conversion to put Biarritz into a 16-12 lead, and the Frenchmen brought on international lock Olivier Roumat as they attempted to turn the screw.

Only the sharpness of Wales fullback Kevin Morgan kept Swansea in the game, beating opposite number Nicolas Brusque and Legg to the touchdown of a deft through-kick.

Morgan came to the rescue soon after, intercepting what would have been a scoring pass after Legg had beaten Matthew Robinson on the outside.

Swansea lost lock Andy Moore to the sin-bin for back-chat, but ironically this sparked the visitors into producing their best rugby of the match.

Gibbs seized on a turnover and sent fellow centre Shaun Payne through a gap.


Shaun Payne had Swansea's best try chance

The South African looked favourite to score Swansea's first try in Europe this season, but Legg was over from his wing with a last-ditch tackle.

Swansea still had good field position but flanker Colin Charvis took slow ball up a blind alley and was penalised for holding on when no support materialised.

Biarritz marched back into opposition territory, with Legg seizing on another penalty chance to kick the French side into a 19-15 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

Swansea desperately tried to fight back but were unable to introduce any pace into their play or depth to their moves.

Trying to keep the ball alive in their own half, the Welshmen allowed Biarritz to steal possession and launch a counter-attack that put Brusque in at the corner.

Legg failed with the conversion, but it hardly mattered as injury time approached with Swansea needing two scores to win.


Biarritz: Tries: Puleoto, Brusque. Con: Legg. Pens: Legg 4.

Swansea: Pens: Henson 5.

Att: 4,000


Biarritz: N Brusque; P Bidabe, G Bousses, J-E Cassin, S Legg; L Mazas, J Iharreguy; E Menieu, N Curnier, J-M Gonzalez (capt), L Matiu, J-P Versailles, S Betsen, C Milheres, D Chouchan.
Reps: S Puleoto, D Avril, M Fitzgerald, L Roumat, S Bonnet, J Peyrelongue, P Bernat-Salles.

Swansea: K Morgan; B Lima, S Payne, S Gibbs (capt), M Robinson; G Henson, S Martens; D Morris, G Jenkins, B Evans, T Maullin, A Moore, C Charvis, D Thomas, G Lewis.
Reps (from): G Swales, R Jones, A Thomas, N Witkowski, J Marsters, C Wells, H Bennett, J Griffiths, L Jones, H Jenkins.

Referee: David Tindall (Ireland).

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Swansea coach John Plumtree
"The game was there for us"
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