Bordeaux-Begles edge Edinburgh as Castres are disqualified in Challenge Cup

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Rugby ball (Getty Images)
Rugby ball (Getty Images)

Bordeaux-Begles reached a European semi-final for the first time after beating visiting Edinburgh 23-14 as Castres were disqualified on Saturday in the Challenge Cup.

Leicester Tigers advanced to the last four after the French club, who recorded four Covid-19 cases, were deemed to have forfeited the match scheduled at Welford Road on Sunday.

"The decision followed a meeting of a Medical Committee comprising medical leads from the unions, league bodies and both clubs, and subsequent independent medical advice," European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), who run the European club competitions, said in a statement.

"Castres have to forfeit the match and Leicester will qualify for the Challenge Cup semi-finals."

Next weekend, Bordeaux-Begles will meet another club playing in a European final four for the first time, Bristol, who thrashed the Dragons 56-17 on Friday.

Victory gives Bordeaux-Begles a chance to salvage something from a 2019-20 season that was going so well until the coronavirus pandemic ended the French Top 14 campaign in March when they were leading the league.

In front of 1,000 noisy fans at Stade Chaban-Delmas, the home side scored two tries in the opening eight minutes through Argentina's Santiago Cordero and Jean-Baptiste Dubie. France fly-half Mathieu Jalibert converted both.

"Even with 1,000 spectators, we heard them a lot," said captain Jefferson Poirot. "You have to tip your hat to them."

A Jalibert penalty put Bordeaux-Begles 17-6 up 50 minutes.

But playing only their second competitive match since club rugby resumed in France, coach Christophe Urios' team began to make mistakes and the Scottish visitors fought back with a try by winger Damien Hoyland.

With 10 minutes to go, the hosts were reduced to 14 men when Tonga prop Ben Tameifuna earned a yellow card and Blair Kinghorn cut the lead to six points from the subsequent penalty.

But the home defence held and Ben Botica sealed victory with a last-minute penalty.

"Physically, they are more ready than us," Jalibert said. "We started the match with a big lead, we caught them by the throat at the start and little by little we lost momentum, we started to make mistakes and they came back."

On Friday, Dragons jumped to a 10-0 lead at Ashton Gate but Bristol responded with seven tries, two by Ben Earl, to win 56-17 and earn Fiji centre Semi Radradra a rematch with the club he left over the summer

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 8981 votes
Cricket
11% - 2328 votes
Football
19% - 4100 votes
Athletics
2% - 529 votes
Boxing
1% - 191 votes
Cycling
2% - 499 votes
Golf
5% - 1046 votes
Motorsport
9% - 1820 votes
Tennis
3% - 727 votes
Water sports
1% - 198 votes
American sports
1% - 268 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 680 votes
Vote