A ball thrown from the sidelines led to a dramatic finale as Biarritz faced La Rochelle. Kit Shepard reports
Watch: Two balls cause confusion in Top 14 match
Biarritz and La Rochelle both claimed victory when two balls appeared to be in play during the comical finale of their Top 14 clash.
Trailing 24-20 in the dying seconds of the match on Sunday but with a lineout five metres from the opposition try-line, Biarritz thought they had snatched victory when Francois Da Ros scored from a driving maul.
However, at the same time, a second ball thrown onto the pitch from the stands trickled through the maul to La Rochelle scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who booted it into touch thinking that he had secured victory for La Rochelle.
The referee disrupted the two sides’ celebrations and restarted play with a Biarritz scrum, from which Josh Tyrell scored to grab a 27-24 win.
The second ball that Kerr-Barlow picked up was thrown from directly behind the lineout, hence all the confusion, but the culprit at the Parc des Sports d’Aguilera is not known.
Biarritz’s win appeared unlikely when they were trailing 24-13 with 15 minutes to play, but a try from Joe Jonas set up the tense closing stages.
The result moves the Basque outfit off the bottom of the table as they go above Toulon, albeit that the three-time European Champions Cup winners have three games in hand on Biarritz.
Meanwhile, Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle – losing finalists in the Champions Cup and Top 14 last year – remain mid-table in seventh, two points behind Racing 92.
Bordeaux-Begles lead the way in the French top flight this season. They are five points clear of Montpellier in second place, while Lyon are a point further back in third.
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