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Gaffney rues penalties

Saracens coach bemoans penalty count after dramatic Biarritz loss.

Last updated: 17th November 2007   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Gaffney rues penalties

Gaffney: Penalty costs

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Saracens coach Alan Gaffney was bitterly disappointed to lose their Heineken Cup clash at Biarritz because of the penalty count.

Gaffney watched his Sarrioes side play superbly at the Parc des Sports Aguilera and outscore the powerful French side three tries to one in their own backyard.

However, after Andy Farrell grabbed what looked to the winning try late on, Dimitri Yachvili stole the points with a last-minute penalty as Biarritz won 22-21.

Penalties undoubtedly cost Saracens the win, with Yachvili kicking five successful penalties to hand the home side the victory.

Gaffney could not fault the way his side played in attack, but was disappointed to have lost the chance to win by giving away too many penalties.

"I can't say we were robbed, but I'm definitely disappointed with the result," said Gaffney.

"It was very hard to live with the penalty count, but the last penalty was definitely legitimate - I have no doubts about it.

"I think we played some very good rugby tonight, and scoring three tries to one in France is always a good thing.

"When we did have the ball I thought we did very well with it."


Gaffney added that he was pleased with the overall performance, but admitted that giving away so many penalties cost them dear.

"Although I think we played well enough to win, to concede nine penalties is not on.

"We lost Francisco Leonelli on Thursday morning and then losing Census Johnson on the morning of the game inevitably disrupted our preparation.

"But that's professional rugby for you.

"We've got a good squad and I think we did very well to go on and take the game to Biarritz."

Gaffney believes that the defeat will now give his Saracens a big test of character as they return to Guinness Premiership action next week.

"Now we'll be able to see how far we've come by facing the challenge of picking ourselves up off the floor for the London Irish game next week.

"We have to put tonight's result behind us."

French stretched

Man of the Match was Biarritz's France international back-rower Imanol Harinordoquy, and he said their performance was better than last week, but admitted Saracens had pushed them all the way.

"Last week's performance against Viadana was not bad, but this week was better," said Harinordoquy.

"But conceding three tries at home is obviously a big disappointment to us.

"We hoped that we would stop Saracens from getting a bonus point, so we didn't achieve everything we wanted to achieve.

"They pushed us very hard, but we always knew that they would.

"Our challenge now is to keep focused for the Top 14 and Heineken Cup games to come."

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