Gloucester lock Tom Palmer admits conceding a try just before half-time was his side’s downfall as Bordeaux-Bègles grabbed a European Rugby Champions Cup spot with the last kick of the game at Sixways on Sunday.
Greig Laidlaw’s penalty ten minutes before time had seemingly won the play-off for the Cherry and Whites, but Bordeaux turned the ball over and drove upfield for Pierre Bernard to drill over a last-ditch drop-goal.
It is even a crueller fate for Gloucester knowing that they stood 16 points up on Bordeaux on 37 minutes, but Metuisela Talebula’s breakaway try swung the momentum the French side’s way.
Gloucester struggled to match their first-half effort after the break and Palmer concedes Talebula’s score set the chains in motion for Bernard’s heartbreaking drop-goal.
“That was the big issue for us, we had the game really under control and the turning point was when we were on the attack, they turned it over and suddenly it was a six-point ball game,” said Palmer, whose side had beaten Connacht in a thrilling play-off last week to reach the final stage.
“I thought we had it with ten seconds to go, we had the ball down in their half and were controlling it quite nicely.
“Then we suddenly get a penalty against us, they set up a good maul and fair play, they execute a good drop-goal under pressure.
“In the second half they played better and we didn’t play well at times.
“I thought we had done enough to win it at the end but not quite, that’s the problem against a very good team like Bordeaux. They’ve got very dangerous players and guys who can execute right at the end.”
Lock Jandre Marais deservedly earned the man of the match award after an all-action performance, but he heaped praise on the whole team after they narrowly missed out on securing a Champions Cup spot through the Top 14 last weekend.
He said: “Coming to England, it’s not easy winning here against a great side. Big up to the guys who really put it up and brought it today.
“We got the wind in our backs in the second half and we knew we would have that during the first half, so it was also about waiting for that.”
- Planet Rugby