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Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 21:10 GMT
Bath through in style
England and Bath centre Mike Tindall
Mike Tindall scored two vital tries for Bath
Bath 31-13 Biarritz

Bath made sure of home advantage in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup with victory over Biarritz at the Rec.

The English side could take on Llanelli in the last eight after winning all six of their matches in Pool 3.

Mike Tindall provided the inspiration with two tries early in the second half that effectively ended the visitors' challenge.

Up until the hour mark, Bath had failed to make the best of their overwhelming domination of possession and Biarritz had managed to stay in touch.

It was so important in a competition of this magnitude to get a home win
Bath coach John Callard
From the first whistle Bath camped in the Biarritz half without being able to break down a resolute defence.

They had to rely on the boot of Olly Barkley to put them 9-0 ahead in the first half-hour.

There seemed little danger for the former European champions, but a spirited fightback from Biarritz in the 10 minutes before the break had the home side worried.

Julien Peyrelongue got the French side on the board with a penalty in the 31st minute and in the following moments he missed another before Biarritz almost crossed for a try.

Only a Mike Catt tap-tackle stopped Guillaume Bousses on the charge, and Marc Lievremont then wasted an overlap as Biarritz had to settle for another penalty to go 9-6 down.

Bath kicker Olly Barkley
Barkley kicked 11 points
That looked to be it for the first half, but Catt had other ideas.

The England back provided the inspiration by breaking the Biarritz defensive line for the first time in the 42nd minute.

His dummy in midfield created space and the ball went through the hands of Tindall, Nathan Thomas and Barkley before Kevin Maggs crossed in the corner.

Barkley then converted the penalty to give Bath a healthy 16-6 lead at the break.

The second half began as the first had ended, with Bath on top, and only a lack of pace stopped prop David Barnes going over within 60 seconds.

Tindall did have the necessary speed three minutes later and he crossed in the corner after a pass from Mark Gabey, but Barkley missed the penalty.

Missed tackles

A 21-6 lead looked unassailable, but Bath then let their opponents back into the match with some poor tackling.

Philippe Bidabe took advantage of an overlap to cross in the corner after several missed tackles by the Bath back-line.

For a moment the match looked to be in the balance, but a clinical finish from Tindall proved the decisive score.

Replacement Stuart Legg fumbled in midfield for Biarritz and Tindall flew down the wing to restore Bath's comfort zone.

The match was as good as over with 20 minutes remaining and Bath were content to run the clock down, with full-back Matt Perry adding another try late on.

Bath: Tries: Tindall (2), Maggs, Perry; Pens: Barkley (3); Cons: Barkley

Biarritz: Tries: Bidabe; Pens: Peyrelongue (2); Cons: Peyrelongue

Bath: Perry, Thirlby, Barkley, Tindall, Maggs, Catt, Williams, D. Barnes, Long, Emms, Borthwick, Grewcock, G. Thomas, Gabey, N. Thomas. Replacements: Cooper, Regan, Hopcroft, Voyce, Crockett, Dorsey, Lyle.

Biarritz: Brusque, Bernat-Salles, Cassin, Bousses, Bidabe, Peyrelongue, Morlaes, Menieu, Gonzales, Fitzgerald, Versailles, Roumat, M. Lievremont, Chouchan, T. Lievremont. Replacements: Dabadie, Irazoqui, Matiu, Milheres, Bonnet, Mazas, Legg.

Referee: Giulio di Santis (Italy)

See also:

06 Jan 02 |  European
Full-back fears for Bath
05 Jan 02 |  European
Bath progress with ease
Links to more European stories are at the foot of the page.


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