Late Soury try helps Biarritz to victory over struggling Stade Francais
Bastien Soury crossed for a decisive try four minutes from time to help seal a dramatic 17-14 victory for Biarritz over big-spenders Stade Francais in the 11th round of Top 14 action on Saturday.
It was an impressive fourth win of the season for bottom-placed Biarritz, newly promoted into the elite French league after seven years in the ProD2.
Biarritz coach Matthew Clarkin said his team’s goal on returning to the Top 14 was to show that they could be competitive and win matches, insisting that they play under no pressure.
“We’re happy with the win,” said the New Zealander, former No 8 and captain of Bordeaux-Begles.
“For the moment it’s not all about the standings, it’s how to best prepare for the matches and try to win them.”
The Basque team shot out to an early lead thanks to a try from Argentinian scrum-half Tomas Cubelli, English fly-half Brett Herron kicking both conversions and a penalty.
Stade, who have the largest budget in the Top 14, saw Joris Segonds boot three penalties and Tongan winger Telusa Veainu cross for their sole try.
But it was hooker Soury, who only joined Biarritz as a medical replacement from Toulon last month, who had his moment of glory, peeling off a driving line-out maul to catch the Parisians napping and crash in at the corner.
It was a third successive defeat for the Parisians, who are now in 11th spot, just one point ahead of Biarritz.
Stade coach Gonzalo Quesada lamented his team’s inaccuracy, notably in the tackle and line-out.
“Our second half was better but not enough to win,” the former Argentina fly-half said. “We needed to give much more to come here and win.
“We are of course worried and we have been for a little while. We’re realistic about our goals. We knew we wouldn’t be ahead of everybody or in the top three.
“But we’ll continue working and thinking about changes in what we can do.”
There was also an against-the-odds victory for 13th-placed Perpignan, who ran out 26-24 victors over Clermont, who had raced out to a 21-10 half-time lead.
France full-back Melvyn Jaminet was the hero of the hour, stepping up for a match-winning conversion of Alan Brazo’s try at the hooter for a personal tally of 16 points in the come-from-behind victory.
Toulon recorded a much-needed 19-13 win over Lyon, who saw captain and former France centre Mathieu Bastareaud stretchered off in tears with what looked like a nasty knee injury.
League leaders Toulouse ground out an 18-11 victory against Brive to extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points.
The reigning French and European champions needed six penalties from Thomas Ramos, including kicks in the 75th and 82nd minutes, to edge out the visitors.
Other results saw La Rochelle power to a 36-8 thrashing of Pau, while Montpellier edged Castres 25-24, the latter team’s coaching set-up boosted by the presence of England coach Eddie Jones.
Racing 92 play second-placed Bordeaux-Begles on Sunday.
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