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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2006, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Biarritz 11-6 Sale
Sale centre Mark Taylor goes into contact
Biarritz (11) 11
Tries: Bobo
Pens: Yachvili 2
Sale (3) 6
Pens: Hodgson 2
Premiership leaders Sale crashed out of the Heineken Cup after failing to find their best form in an 11-6 defeat at the hands of Biarritz.

Biarritz took the lead through Dimitri Yachvili's 21st-minute penalty, before Charlie Hodgson replied for Sale.

Yachvili made it 6-3 and Sereli Bobo's try put Biarritz 11-3 up at half-time.

Sale tried hard to find a way through in the second half, but - apart from Hodgson's late penalty - lacked the wit to break a fierce Biarritz defence.

The away side tried to put down a marker early on, and an early scrum against the head boosted spirits in the intimidating atmosphere at the Estadio Anoeta.

But most of the early danger came from Biarritz's sharper-looking backs, with Dimitri Yachvili leading his side around the pitch.

The first major break came from Bobo, as some swift hands in the Biarritz midfield released the Fijian winger down the left touchline.

Bobo chipped over full-back Daniel Larrechea, only for the full-back to cynically take him out, but Yachvili missed the resultant penalty.

The France scrum-half made no such mistake with his next effort though to put his side in front after 21 minutes.

Biarritz winger Sereli Bobo
Bobo produced some of the few moments of inspiration

Sale looked short of ideas, with a missed Hodgson drop-goal their first realistic attempt to get on the scoreboard.

Hodgson did then bring them level with a penalty, only for Yachvili to restore his side's lead with another kick.

Biarritz then noticeably upped the tempo, and the end result was an excellent Bobo try on the left after his team-mates had gone through numerous phases.

Yachvili's sin-binning five minutes before half-time gave hope to Sale, and they attempted to go for the jugular, turning down a kick at goal in favour of a catch and drive.

But Biarritz's powerful defence could not be breached, and when Yachvili re-emerged after the break, the scoreline was identical.

Sale continued to turn down kickable penalties in the second half, but were seldom able to string enough phases together to force a scoring opportunity.

A dropped ball by the out-of-sorts Mark Cueto saw Biarritz hack the ball up the field and it took a superb last-ditch tackle from Hodgson to deny Imanol Harinordoquy.

Sale dominated possession in the second half but met a brick wall of a Biarritz defence and did not really threaten the home side's tryline.

A break from replacement Valentin Courrent raised hopes but he was quickly engulfed and Biarritz were happy to play conservatively to see out the rest of the game.

  • Sale coach Philippe Saint-Andre:

  • "We've come a long way in the last 18 months - the last time we came to Biarritz we brought four supporters with us, this time there were many more.

    "Biarritz were extremely well organised in defence and didn't give us any room. But home advantage won them the game. I think we would have won at Edgeley Park.

    "I'm very proud of the players. We weren't clinical and missed a few tackles, but the match was like an international.

    "We must become more crafty and clever but you need the experience of this type of game to develop that.

    "We didn't take advantage when Dimitri Yachvili was sin-binned. We needed to score but just couldn't break through their defence."

    Biarritz: Brusque; Gobelet, Bidabe, Traille, Bobo; Peyrelongue, Yachvili; Balan, August, Johnson; Thion, Couzinet; Betsen, Harinordoquy, Lievremont.
    Replacements: Martin Arramburu for Bidabe (76), Lecouls for Johnson (55), Olibeau for Couzinet (56), Dusautoir for Lievremont (28).
    Not Used: Noirot, Dupuy, Dambielle.

    Sin Bin: Yachvili (39).

    Sale: Larrechea; Cueto, Taylor, Seveali'i, Robinson; Hodgson, Martens; Coutts, Bruno, Turner; Lobbe, Schofield; White, Lund, C Jones.
    Replacements: Hanley for Larrechea (46), Courrent for Cueto (71), Wigglesworth for Martens (59), Titterrell for Bruno (59), Stewart for Turner (59), Day for Lobbe (47).
    Not Used: Bonner-Evans.

    Att: 32,000

    Ref: A Lewis (Ireland).

    Interview: Sale captain Jason Robinson

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