Takudzwa Ngwenya beats Nicky Robinson to score for Biarritz
By Mark Orlovac
Biarritz wing Takudzwa Ngwenya scored a hat-trick to help his side make a statement of intent in the Heineken Cup with a bonus-point win over Gloucester.
Three Dimitri Yachvili penalties put Biarritz 9-3 ahead before Ngwenya crossed twice before the break.
He added his third five minutes after half-time while Gloucester full-back Tom Voyce scored from close range.
Although Jake Boer scored for the visitors, tries from Ayoola Erinle and Valentine Courrent sealed the victory.
Although Biarritz have an impressive defensive record of late, questions had been raised about their ruthlessness going forward and before the game, local media had urged them to show greater attacking intent against Gloucester.
As if spurred on by the call, Biarritz attacked right from the kick-off and when Gloucester infringed, Yachvili stepped up to fire his side ahead after just two minutes.
The visitors regrouped quickly and after enjoying an encouraging spell of possession, Robinson levelled the score.
However, Biarritz started to take control and two Yachvili penalties put them six points ahead.
The second of those kicks came when Andy Hazell was penalised for going in off his feet into a ruck as Biarritz attacked, leading to the Gloucester flanker being sent to the sin-bin.
Biarritz forward Imanol Harinordoquy, a constant threat with ball in hand, almost went over for the game's first try on 34 minutes but a superb tap from wing Charlie Sharples was enough to bring down the number eight as he charged for the line.
But the try was not long in coming and following a poor box kick from scrum-half Dave Lewis, Biarritz spread the ball wide to Ngwenya who put on the afterburners to leave the Gloucester defence in his wake.
The second try came six minutes later when Ngwenya was given space out wide and the United States flyer deftly chipped and collected the ball before it bounced to run in on the stroke of half-time.
Gloucester tried to force the issue at the start of the second but they gifted Biarritz their third try when Sharples dropped the ball in midfield. The home side gratefully collected the ball and Ngwenya was on hand to finish off.
Even though the cause seemed lost, Gloucester never gave up, and full-back Tom Voyce crossed from close range on 58 minutes. The try was the first Biarritz had conceded since 6 September.
Erinle put the game beyond doubt with a powerful run through some weak Gloucester tackling but substitute forward Boer, who only signed for the club on Friday, bundled over late on.
The game was over though, and Courrent added Biarritz's fifth try with two minutes left to put the French side in charge of Pool Two, and leaving Gloucester with plenty to think about ahead of their next Heineken Cup contest against Glasgow on 11 December.
Biarritz coach John Isaac: "It was very important for us to keep up our unbeaten start to the pool stages of the Heineken Cup, especially at home.
"It was important we followed up last weekend's performance in Glasgow with another strong display and I was delighted with the attitude and commitment of our players.
"Gloucester are a tough, strong side with a big set of forwards but I felt we dealt with them well.
"We got off to a good start and once we were able to service Takudzwa Ngwenya, we didn't look back."
Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath: "Ultimately we shot ourselves in the foot by making so many basic errors.
"Three of their tries came from two missed tackles and one dropped pass. You just can't compete against a team of the calibre of Biarritz when you give away soft tries like that.
"We were suitably punished and we have to accept that we weren't good enough."
Biarritz: Bosch; Ngwenya, Mignardi, Traille, Brusque; Peyrelongue, Yachvili; Barcella, August, Johnstone, Thion, Taele-Pvihi, Lund, Vahafolau, Harinordoquy. Replacements: Tranier for Traille (68), Erinle for Brusque (53), Courrent for Peyrelongue (53), Coetzee for Barcella (61), Terrain for August (64), Moala for Thion (65), Lauret for Lund (53). Not Used: Carizza.
Gloucester: Voyce; Sharples, Simpson-Daniel, Fuimaono-Sapolu, Vainikolo, Robinson, Lewis, Dickinson, S. Lawson, Somerville, Attwood, James, Qera, Hazell, Delve. Replacements: Burns for Robinson (54), R Lawson for Lewis (41), Doran-Jones for Dickinson (51), Dawidiuk for S Lawson (74), Capdevielle for Somerville (61), Boer for Qera (54). Not Used: Molenaar, Spencer.
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