Scots trio suffer French despair

Brive, featuring three Scotland internationals, were upset by underdogs Biarritz 24-13 in the French Cup final in Bordeaux yesterday.

Former Gala and Northampton fly-half Gregor Townsend could only make the bench for Brive with French international stand-off Christophe Lamaison preferred at No10.

Lamaison was returning to the side after a knee injury which kept him out of four of his country’s Six Nations fixtures. Townsend’s international colleagues, prop Tom Smith and hooker Steve Brotherstone, both started in the Brive front row.

Townsend entered play in the first half as a temporary replacement for the French international centre David Venditti. He came on as a permanent replacement for Lamaison after 47 minutes. Brive’s 6-3 half-time lead had just slipped, thanks to a try from French international winger Phillipe Bernat-Salles.

Townsend was to have an unhappy hand in the second, and late, try by the Basques which came from an interception of his pass. By then Brotherstone had been replaced.

The remainder of the Biarritz points came from the boot of former All Black Frano Botica and included two outrageous drop goals.

Immediately after the game the Scots were due to fly out to New Zealand where they will join up with their touring colleagues by tomorrow evening.

Biarritz’s success was their first since winning the French title in 1939. They become the first French club to book their place in next season’s Heineken European Cup.

Queensland fullback Chris Latham’s bid for Test selection received a boost yesterday when he was named the runaway winner of the Australian Super 12 Player-of-the-Series Award.

Latham, 24, polled 22 points, nine ahead of Australian Capital Territory Brumbies outside flanker Stirling Mortlock and New South Wales Waratahs flanker Phil Waugh. Waratahs pair Jason Little (12 points) and Matthew Burke (ten) were fourth and fifth.

Australia will name a 26-man squad next Wednesday in preparation for the opening Test against Argentina in Brisbane on 17 June. There has been speculation that Latham will be named at fullback, pushing incumbent Wallabies No15 Burke out to the wing.