Brive 35 Llanelli 14
If Llanelli were going to win through to the semi, it was going to have to be a
case of not just upsetting the applecart, but of pissing it off completely. This
task proved well beyond them.
Brive started with such a ferocity that the game was more or less won in the
first 20 minutes - a big ball-winning pack and marauding back row kept llanelli
penned inside their '22 for long periods. Three penalties for Lamaison and a
breakaway try from an attacking scrum 5 swept Brice to a 19-0 lead with barely
20 minutes on the clock. Llanelli's opening tactics do however need questioning,
as instead of seeking to contain the expected opening Fhrench onslaught, they
tried to run the ball from very deep positions and frequently played themselves
On 22 minutes, the Llanelli pack won their first clean attacking ball and a
sweeping back move involving a loop between Botica and ***ier brought Wayne
Proctor steaming into the line on '22. Proctor chipped through, and despite
Ieuan Evans having to run an arc around the French chasers he got to the ball
first for an excellent try.
The rest of the first half followed a familiar script, Brive took Llanelli apart
in the loose, with Llanelli putting together some excellent back moves from the
scraps that came their way. Llanelli put together a good spell of pressure, but
from a spilled ball Brive tore upfield, resulting in an Up and Under being
spilled in front of the Llanelli posts for the chasing Brive Centre to regather
and go over for a converted try.
HALF TIME 26 -7
Llanelli had the better of the opening second half exchanges, but the brilliance
of their backs with ball in hand was tempered by their forwards' inability to
keep it for any length of time - Brive's back row were superb and turned over a
large amount of opposition ball.
Brive gradually began to reassert themselves, kicking two penalties for an
unreachable and thoroughly deserved 32-7 lead.
Ieuan evans went over from a crafty quick tapped penalty to add some
respectability to the scoreline, and some spectacular flowing moves from both
sides followed, with both sides going close on a number of occasions before
Brive scored a late penalty. Llanelli were able to mount some sporadic pressure,
but this was probably due in part to Brive realising that the game was in the
FULL TIME 35 - 14
One minor whinge .... please don't let Brian Campsall referee any more matches
in this tournament .. he seemed to totally forget about the offside law and at
one point allowed a Brive forward to tackle Rupert Moon as he was in the process
of taking a tap penalty. The Brive forwards were allowed to spend large amounts
of time lying over llanelli ruck ball and a flag-happy linesman would wave each
time Llanelli attempted to ruck out the offender.
That said, Brive are by far and away the best side I've seen in the tournament
and must now be installed as favourites. Pierre Villepreux has stated that they
are the fittest side in France and this certainly showed as they made a normally
sprightly scarlets pack look pedantic and always seemed to outnumber llanelli at
the breakdown ... their backs look tasty too.
They have the ability to play different styles - their mauling was far superior
to Leicester's since rather than looking to crab their way upfield, they would
probe out a weak point and then explode through with a surge of force and
precision. They have bags of pace throughout the side, and although their front
three didn't exert the same pressure as Leicester's, they were still too much
Cardiff are probably going to attempt an 'English' style game and will have a
huge lineout advantage, but to be frankly honest, I don't think that they are
simply good or big enough to dent Brive's 100% record.
These guys are useful.