Even the most ardent of Reivers followers had been geared up for a merciless thumping at the hands of the tournament co-favourites. But with just three minutes left and the scores locked at 17-all, they sensed the possibility of a sensational outcome.
However, two touches of brilliance by substitute Dimitri Yachvili sparked the last-gasp try-double for powerhouse Sireli Bobo which smothered the gutsy challenge of the Scots.
Proud Borders coach Steve Bates was brimming with admiration for his men: “The guys were absolutely fantastic. There were some great performances – and some very great performances.”
Bates picked out the senior members of his squad for special mention, saying: “Hooker Steve Scott was instrumental at getting our line-out to function, while the likes of Stuart Grimes and Gregor Townsend had contributed hugely in terms of preparation for the game.
“The defence was marvellous throughout the match and it took a couple of pieces of absolute brilliance by Yachvili to enable Biarritz to win. We have learned a tremendous amount from the experience of the two games against such quality opposition and now the task is to take this form into the remainder of the Magners League campaign. If we do that, we can finish in mid-table, where we should be.”
As expected, Biarritz had the bulk of possession and territory in the early stages, but they looked strangely jittery and disjointed.
Their uncharacteristic sloppiness was underlined when, having spurned an easy penalty chance, they opted to kick for the corner – only for Damien Traille to thump it directly over the dead-ball line, giving the Reivers an escape route.
Tries: Traille, Noirot, Bidabe, Bobo 2. Cons: Dupuy.
Tries: Palepoi, MacRae. Cons: MacRae 2. Pens: MacRae.
Dambielle, Gobelet, Bosch, Masi, Bobo, Traille, Dupuy, Lecouls, Balan, Noirot, Dellape, Couzinet, Betsen, Dridi, Lievremont.
Bidabe for Gobelet (29), Peyrelongue for Masi (61), Yachvili for Dupuy (76), Avril for Lecouls (31), August for Noirot (66), Malonga for Dridi (66), Harinordoquy for Lievremont (74).
Betsen (45), Avril (52).
MacRae, Law, De Luca, Rennie, Daniel, Townsend, Chrystie, Kerr, Scott, Kalman, Grimes, Palepoi, Gray, Miller, Brown.
McKerchar for Chrystie (40), Ford for Scott (77), Douglas for Kalman (77).
D Courtney (Ireland).