Dimitri Yachvili the Biarritz scrum-half was the star in the Amlin Cup Final at The Twickenham Stoop as Biarritz beat Toulon 21-18 and booked their place in the heineken Cup for next year. Not only did Yachvili kick seven from seven penalties, but he also pinned Toulon in their own 22 with a superb array of box and line kicks to the corners.
The game was not a classic, but the English weather was a big factor as the rain came down making the ball greasy. Neither side was prepared to risk it and play expansive rugby and so it was a kicking duel between the left boots of Yachvili and Wilkinson, a duel that was won by Yachvili as he kicked all his attempts, whilst Wilkinson had a miss.
The first half saw Biarritz take the lead and although Wilkinson missed a pot at goal he and Yachvili traded penalties for the Biarritz side to go in 12-9 up at the break. The second period and it was more of the same, though perhaps Carl Hayman and then Stefon Armitage being binned and Toulon down to 13 was the deciding factor as Yachvili kicked the points. Wilkinson did level late on at 18-18, but the Yachvili penalty took it to 21-18 and although Toulon pressed trying to force extra time they infringed at the ruck and Biarritz were able to clear their lines and run down the clock for a memorable win but in front of a small crowd of some 9,000. Final score:
Biarritz 21- 18 Toulon
Pens: Yachvili 7
Pens: Wilkinson 5
Drop-goal : Wilkinson
Biarritz: I Balshaw, T Ngwenya, J-P Barraque, D Traille, D Haylett-Petty; J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; Y Watremez, A Heguy, E Van Staden, J Thion, P Taele, W Lauret, B Guyot, I Harinordoquy (capt).
Replacements: B Augus (for Heguy, 69)t, S Marconnet (for Watremez, 41), F Gomez-Kodela, E Lund (for Thion, 71), T Gray (for Guyot, 50), M Bosch (for Peyrelongue, 72), C Gimenez, I Bolakoro.
Toulon: B Lapeyre, A Palisson, M Bastareaud, M Giteau, D Smith; J Wilkinson, S Tillous-Borde; E Lewis-Roberts, S Bruno, C Hayman, C Samson, K Chesney, P Gunther, S Armitage, J van Niekerk (capt).
Replacements: J-C Orioli (for Bruno, 51), L Emmanuelli, D Kubriashvili, J El Abd, G Messina, D Schofield (for Chesney, 58), F Cibray, J Suta.
Yellow cards: Hayman (46), Armitage (53)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)