Yachvili kicks Biarritz to final victory

PA Sport
Dimitri Yachvili (left) and Wenceslas Lauret
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Dimitri Yachvili (left) and Wenceslas Lauret

Dimitri Yachvili eclipsed Jonny Wilkinson and kicked Biarritz to their first ever European title with 21-18 victory over Toulon in the Amlin Challenge Cup final at the Twickenham Stoop.

Yachvili landed all seven of his penalty shots at goal but the final strike was wrapped in controversy because the French scrum-half, arguably, should not have been on the field.

Toulon had drawn level at 18-18, with five Wilkinson penalties and a trademark drop-goal, and had all the momentum when Yachvili's sly tackle from an offside position stopped a potential try. Biarritz moved downfield and, with nine minutes remaining, Yachvili stroked the kick over to clinch a vital victory

The officials did not see the one-handed tap tackle that led to Sebastien Tillous Borde passing the ball straight into touch. It was a yellow-card offence.

Toulon had hung in there all game despite Yachvili's kicking masterclass and Wilkinson was in position for a last-gasp drop-goal attempt that would have brought extra-time.

But the Toulon pack left him stranded, conceding a penalty on the eighth phase of the attack that confirmed Biarritz's victory.

Biarritz had to win to qualify for the Heineken Cup for a 13th consecutive season after finishing ninth in the Top 14 following a disappointing domestic campaign.

The relief and joy was evident from the reaction of senior players like Damien Traille, while Toulon and Wilkinson now have to turn their attention to the Top 14.

Toulon, beaten Amlin Challenge Cup finalists in 2010, face Racing Metro in the Top 14 quarter-finals next weekend.

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