Former All Black Nick Evans put in a perfect kicking performance in treacherous, driving rain as Harlequins defeated Biarritz 16-9 on Friday to complete their European Cup group stage with a sixth win in six games.
Quins, who had already made sure of their place in the quarter-finals, failed to gain a bonus point, but their Pool 3 tally of 28 points could still make them the top seeds in the knockout phase.
Evans kicked three penalties and converted the game’s only try, which left Biarritz without a hope of squeezing into the last eight as a best runner-up.
Dimitri Yachvili, the third-highest points scorer in European Cup history, missed an early penalty, but was on target with a second attempt as the French side edged ahead at a drenched Stade Aguilera.
Evans leveled at the other end before the English champions grabbed the only try of the game.
Hooker Joe Gray threw long at a lineout, where No. 8 Tom Guest gathered before barging over for a well-worked try, which Evans converted.
Both sides ended the half with 14 men after Biarritz lock Wenceslas Lauret and Quins prop Joe Marler were sin-binned for coming to blows.
Yachvili dragged the French side back into contention with two early penalties in the second period, before Evans kicked a 45m penalty which bounced kindly off the crossbar and over for a 13-9 lead.
Yachvili again went wide with another penalty as the game became an exhausting battle of attrition.
Evans kicked another penalty seven minutes from time to seal a well-earned Harlequins win.
In the night’s other Pool 3 game, Dan Parks kicked 20 points as Connacht beat Zebre 25-20, with the Italian side ending their campaign with a sixth successive defeat.