Nevers / Angoulême: 18 – 24
The winning players from Soyaux-Angoulême, were cheered on by their supporters from Charente crying “Chanzy is here!” The celebrations were as enjoyable for the visiting supporters, as cruel for the rest of the Pré-Fleuri stadium.
The bitterness resulting from this defeat, which began with a huge hammer blow from the start on their home turf, was largely down to the scenario for the match. It is true that the Nevers team was never able to make the most of any opportunity or to thwart the Charente team which laid so many traps. But their opponents were incredibly lucky throughout the match, in spite of a lack of discipline, which went unpunished. The team did not get any yellow cards after the break and the pill was hard to swallow.
While Zack Henry was the first to get lucky with his kick for the first penalty after an attack by Ilia Kaikatsishvili, after three minutes, the SA XV calmed the excitement of the home supporters at the Pré-Fleuri. A touch close to the home posts, after some skilful footwork from Adrien Ayestaran, allowed the violet forwards to get going and propel the prop, Younes El Jai over the line. Benjamin Noble converted, just before leaving the team after an injury.
Making a lot of mistakes, Adrien Buononato’s lads were then punished by Laurent Millotte’s whistle and the precision of Henry’s left foot.
Nevers got ahead thanks to their English fly-half scoring for the fourth time, but were caught out in a scrum which allowed the flanker Sébastien Laulhé to get away. He ran into Joris Cazenave and his team mate Paul Belzons recovered the ball and got away to score in the corner. Pierre Lafitte converted the try.
Fifteen against thirteen
The response from Nevers pushed the Charente team into defence. The first yellow card went to Anthony Coletta, allowing the yellows to get ahead (15-14, 31st min). The second awarded to Ayestaran, guilty of holding up play did not lead to any additional points on the score-board. At one point playing fifteen against thirteen, Xavier Péméja’s men were unable to hurt their opponents. Luka Plataret, for example, failed a yard from the posts.
After the break, the strategy from Angoulême meant they kept control of the ball and let the minutes go by. Mathieu Ugalde gave them the advantage in the 48th min, and Nevers stayed two points behind for around 25 minutes. None of the line outs or 5 yard scrums enabled the Burgundy boys to make it less stressful for their supporters. They did however think that things were going their way when Henry scored from more than fifty metres. Unfortunately, after looking like he was going to save the day, he then missed out catching the ball from Ugalde. The ball was recovered by the team from Charente and to everyone’s amazement, Andries Kruger got a third try for his team offering a bonus. Ugalde converted removing any hope of a consolation prize in terms of defending, which meant the evening was a gloomy one for Nevers.