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Aironi down European heavyweights

Guinness PRO12 Editor

13 Dec 2010

Aironi caused the biggest upset of the Heineken Cup so far this season beating last season’s finalists Biarritz Olympique.

The newly formed Italian franchise had been without a win to their name in any competition before the weekend but upset the French giants with a clinical display.

Their had been a marked improvement in the performance of the side in recent weeks since the appointment of Rowland Phillips at the helm and a late Julien Laharrague drop goal sealed the victory in Viadana.

Tito Tebaldi kicked an early penalty before Biarritz struck with two quick tries from Romain Terrain and Takudzwa Ngwenya. Dimitri Yachvili missed with his first conversion but slotted home his second to give his side a 12-3 lead.

As the first half continued Aironi fought their way back into the game and Heineken Cup debutant James Marshall crossed for a try on the stroke of half time. Tebaldi missed with his conversion attempt but did kick an earlier penalty which took the Italian into the break just a point behind the French giants.

Former England winger Iain Balshaw crossed just after the break before Giiulio Toniolatti's score. Tebaldi converted the winger's try as Aironi regained the lead.

A converted try a-piece from Charles Gimenez and Matteo Praticihetti meant it was just a one-point ball game as the Pool 4 fixture entered the last twenty minutes.

Yachvili kicked a penalty with six minutes remaining but French International full-back Laharrague had the last say with his drop-kick to the delight of the home supporters.