Yachvili gives Biarritz controversial Euro triumph

Dimitri Yachvili kicked a perfect seven penalties to give Biarritz a 21-18 win over Toulon in Friday's European Challenge Cup final, the Basque club's first piece of continental silverware.

But the influential French scrum-half was fortunate to still be on the pitch when he landed the winning kick six minutes from time of the disappointing final at the Twickenham Stoop.

Just moments earlier, he had tap-tackled Toulon scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde while lying in an offside position, a yellow card offence which referee Wayne Barnes missed.

With the scores level at 18-18, after Jonny Wilkinson had succeeded with a long-range drop goal, Yachvili made the most of his lifeline to land the winning penalty.

The win also meant Biarritz qualified for next season's European Cup while big-spending Toulon, for whom Wilkinson kicked all the points, were left still waiting for a first European title.

In a tense season finale, Toulon also had two players sin-binned early in the second half with former All Black prop Carl Hayman yellow-carded for a spear tackle on US winger Takudzwa Ngwenya.

He was quickly followed by English flanker Steffon Armitage.

"We lost a Challenge Cup final for the second time (after 2010). Now we have to rediscover our spirit," said Toulon skipper Joe van Niekerk.

"We showed a lot of courage tonight but in a final you cannot afford to get two yellow cards."

Biarritz had led 12-9 at the break, thanks to Yachvili's accuracy while Wilkinson had kicked three penalties but had also missed his opening shot at goal in the eighth minute.

The former England fly-half pulled Toulon level at 12-12 before Biarritz made the most of their two-man advantage to stretch to 18-12.

Wilkinson then reduced the deficit to three points with another penalty on the hour mark before making it 18-18 with a trademark, inch-perfect drop goal.

The English veteran missed a difficult penalty just moments before Yachvili's controversial illegal trip on Tillous-Borde.

Toulon, Challenge Cup runners-up in 2010, now turn their attentions to the French Top 14 play-offs where they face Racing Metro in the quarter-finals next weekend.

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