By John Fallon
Connacht supporters who had their hearts broken when Brive snatched victory with a last gasp penalty on Saturday, had the blow softened somewhat when the player who delivered the winning kick bought them all a drink and partied the night away with them.
Thomas Laranjeira was the hero for Brive when he landed his seventh penalty of the night from 40 metres with the last kick of the game to grab a 21-18 win in the Challenge Cup at Stade Amedee-Domenech.
About two dozen Connacht fans adjourned to a Basque bar in the centre of Brive after the game to drown their sorrows.
The last thing they expected was they would be joined by the man who had just put their Challenge Cup hopes in jeopardy.
The game was being shown on the television screens at Le Basque Bar on Boulevard Jules Ferry when Laranjeira and a couple of friends walked in and it didn’t take long for the Connacht fans to recognise him.
The Brive centre turned out to be a perfect host. He purchased a huge tank of beer, grabbed a few dozen glasses and poured a drink for each of the Connacht fans.
He then joined in the singing, including leading a version of La Marseillaise, and the 23-year old surprise guest, who is from a small town north of Lyon, ensured a memorable night for the visiting fans.