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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 October, 2004, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Biarritz 23-8 Leicester
HEINEKEN CUP POOL 1
Biarritz centre Federico Martin Arramburu holds off Seru Rabeni to score the first try
Biarritz: (20) 23:
Tries: Martin Arramburu, Marlu
Cons: Yachvili 2
Pens: Yachvili 2
Drop: Yachvili
Leicester: (3) 8:
Try: Rabeni
Pen: Goode
Leicester suffered a setback to their Heineken Cup hopes as they slumped to a comprehensive defeat in Biarritz.

The Tigers started brightly but the home side took control with two first-half tries within four minutes.

Biarritz centre Federico Martin Arramburu and wing Jimmy Marlu both crossed, Dimitri Yachvili adding a drop-goal for a 20-3 interval lead.

Leicester did score a try through the impressive Seru Rabeni but four missed kicks from Andy Goode hindered them.

The two-time champions were swept away at times by some superb running from the Biarritz backs, who were transformed after their inept display against Wasps last weekend.

The Tigers held their own in the opening exchanges and took the lead with a Goode penalty in the third minute.

We can't play a lot worse. We let ourselves down in the first half
Tigers coach John Wells
But it was the only successful kick the fly-half managed all afternoon, missing several chances to give his side hope of a bonus point.

After Yachvili kicked Biarritz level in the 13th minute, the hosts went ahead with a marvellous try in the 24th minute.

France centre Damien Traille stood up Goode and Daryl Gibson in midfield before off-loading to Martin Arramburu, who powered his way through the remaining cover to score.

Yachvili added the conversion and repeated the trick minutes later.

Biarritz wing Philppe Bidabe off-loads the ball out of a tackle from Martin Johnson
Bidabe caused Leicester problems
Full-back Nicolas Brusque launched an attack and wing Philippe Bidabe stepped his way past a couple of tackles before Brusque's chip to the line was collected by Marlu.

At 17-3 down, Goode missed a relatively straightforward kick and Yachvili, with another penalty attempt, and Brusque - off target with a drop-goal - might have extended the lead.

But Yachvili's drop goal gave Biarritz a commanding 20-3 half-time lead they rarely looked like losing.

The scrum-half's penalty on the resumption increased the margin before Rabeni - the only Leicester back to make an impression - benefited from Bidabe's fumble to give the visitors' hope.

The introduction of Samoan brothers Henry and Alex Tuilagi gave them more forward momentum but handling errors consistently undid their best work.

Any hope of a late comeback disappeared when Neil Back was held up a metre short 15 minutes from time and Biarritz turned the ball over.

Sam Vesty's inability to ground the ball over the line in injury-time summed up Leicester's frustration.


Biarritz: N Brusque; P Bidabe, F Martin Arramburu, D Traille, J Marlu; J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; P Balan, B August, D Avril, J Thion, D Couzinet, S Betsen, I Harinordoquy, S Malonga.
Replacements: J Gonzalez, B Lecouls, O Booyse, C Milheres, J Dupuy, B Dambielle, T Lacroix

Leicester: G Murphy, J Holtby, S Rabeni, D Gibson, S Vesty, A Goode, H Ellis, G Rowntree, R Cockerill, J White, M Johnson (capt), B Kay, L Moody, N Back, W Johnson.
Replacements: J Buckland, D Morris, B Deacon, H Tuilagi, S Bemand, A Tuilagi, M Cornwell.




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