Last season’s finalists, Biarritz, wreaked revenge for last week’s shock loss to Italian side Aironi by dishing out a 34-3 mauling in Friday’s return in the south of France.
Aironi had recorded a famous victory in their maiden season of European Cup competition with last week’s 28-27 success, but this time they were not at the races as the French made it three wins out of four Pool 4 matches, moving a provisional seven points clear of Ulster, who were to face Bath away yesterday, as they try to close the gap.
At the Anoeta stadium, it was all Biarritz as they made up for their faux pas in Italy by piling on the points to take a bonus point with English back Iain Balshaw really setting the ball rolling by going over after 10 minutes after French international Dimitri Yachvili had sent over a third-minute penalty.
Yachvili promptly converted before a penalty try and further efforts from Zimbabwean Takudzwa Ngwenya (46) and Benoit August (55) left the Italians on the ropes.
Yachvili converted on each occasion and also added another penalty before Ricardo Bocchino kicked the Italians’ only points as the rain fell in torrents.
In Pool 2, Saracens of England bagged their first win bonus with a 19-14 win at French outfit Racing-Metro, who have designs on overhauling current leaders Leinster.
Sarries may have little chance of reaching the final eight, but in the snow at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes they showed some spirit with a try by South African-born Brad Barritt and 11 points from Owen Farrell’s boot sending them in at the break 16 points to the good.
Tries from Italian Mirco Bergamasco and Nicolas Durand — both converted — saw Racing come back to within two points, but a Farrell penalty completed the job for the visitors to leave Racing a point adrift of Leinster, who now go up against a Clermont side level with Racing on nine points.
Additional reporting by staff writer