16 May, 17:08
Watch the live stream of the pre-Heineken Cup Final press conferences here: Starting at Approximately 4.10pm
Conditions were warm, but cloudy, with a gentle wind off the Atlantic, as the Sharks started with this fifteen: Larrechea; Mayor, Taylor, Bell, Hanley; Hodgson, Wigglesworth; Faure, Briggs, Evans, Day, Jones, J-M Fernandez Lobbe, Carter and Chabal. Ruled out of contention were Robinson (groin), Titterrell (recovering from neck operation), Cueto (slight knock at Beziers), Sheridan and Schofield (both a week away from full fitness.)
Both sides provided a lively first quarter, with further scoring from Biarritz (try by Couzinet, converted by Yachvili) and a Hodgson penalty. 12-10 after 20 minutes. The second quarter remained competitive, but the only scoring was a further Yachvili penalty from the home side. Sharks were having difficulties without adequate possession of the ball. John Carter left the field with a leg injury.
Half time 15-10
Ten minutes into the third quarter, the Sharks took the lead through a try by Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, converted by Hodgson, and followed up with another five minutes later from Steve Hanley, Hodgson again adding the two points. On 64 minutes, Dupuy scored another try.....this was a far cry from the tense Heineken Cup battle of last April. The Sharks' tryfest continued on 69 minutes when Lee Thomas, a replacement for Hanley, crossed the line, the reliable Hodgson converting to put the English champions eleven points ahead. Pierre Gaona was again introduced to the action on his native soil.
With ten minutes to go, it was the visitors who were continuing to apply the pressure, and the Biarritz side struggling for any rhythm. Fittingly, with little time left, it was the outstanding Charlie Hodgson who scored his second try of the evening, and added the conversion.
Attendence: 12.000 environ
Referee: M. Gastou
Biarritz : 3 essais Bobo (2), Couzinet (10), Dupuy (64), 1 transformation Yachvili (10), 1 coup de pied de pénalité Yachvili (31)
Sale : 5 essais Hodgson (4, 79), Fernandez-Lobbe (56), Hanley (60), Thomas (67), 5 transformations Hodgson (4, 56, 60, 67, 79), 1 coup de pied de pénalité Hodgson (13)
Biarritz : Dambielle - Gobelet, Bidabé, Traille, Bobo - (o) Peyrelongue, (m) Yachvili - Dridi, Carizza, Betsen - Thion, Couzinet - Lecouls, August (cap), Balan
Substitutes: Lealamanua, Dellape, Masi, Padro, Noirot, Dupuy, Duvallet
Sale : Larrechea - Taylor, Mayor, Bell, Hanley - (o) Hodgson, (m) Wigglesworth - I. Fernandez-Lobbe, Chabal (cap), Carter - Day, Jones - Evans, Bruno, Faure
Substitutes: Tait, Foden, Goana, Turner, Thomas, Briggs, Townson