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Scarlets visit Union Bordeaux-Bègles in the Heineken Champions Cup on Sunday in what is poised to be a tight affair.
Six of the French side’s last seven pool stage games in the competition have been decided by single-figure margins, winning four and losing three, with four of those games seeing a winning margin of fewer than five points.
The Pool B match kicks off at 5.15pm (UK & Irish time) at Stade Chaban-Delmas, and is available to watch on FR 2, beIN Sports, and BT Sport.
Other key facts
- Scarlets and Bordeaux have faced each other just twice previously in the Heineken Champions Cup, during the pool stage in 1998/99, with each team winning their home game.
- Bordeaux are unbeaten in their four home games against teams from Wales in the Heineken Champions Cup, winning three and drawing one. In fact, their two biggest wins in the competition both came at home against Welsh opposition, a 48-10 win against Scarlets in 1998/99 and a 47-8 victory against the Dragons in 2020/21.
- Scarlets have lost their last five away games against TOP 14 teams in the Heineken Champions Cup but have never lost on more consecutive away trips to France in the competition; Scarlets have scored more than 20 points in each of their last three away games in France -after failing to reach that mark in their previous seven.
- Nans Ducuing (Bordeaux) has gained 732 metres from just 17 kicks from hand in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, an average of 43.1 metres per kick. Only Stuart Hogg (43.3) has gained more metres per kick after the opening two rounds (of players who have made a minimum of 10 kicks).
💬 "We are like Play-Doh, we can mould into any situation right now!!"
Our skipper looks forward to a trip to Bordeaux this weekend 🇫🇷
🦊 Jonathan Davies yn edrych ymlaen at chwarae Bordeaux ar Ddydd Sul
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) January 13, 2022
Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel: “France is always a special place to play in European competition. You have to be prepared to go there and play because you are going to be under the pump at times.”
Match Centre - Preview - Lineups
18-year-old Louis Bielle-Biarrey starred on his Heineken Champions Cup debut as the Union Bordeaux-Begles full-back notched a hat-trick in their 45-10 win over Scarlets.
Last year’s beaten semi-finalists notched seven tries on the afternoon – Cameron Woki, Geoffrey Cros, Maxime Lamothe and Nans Ducuing the quartet to dot down in addition to the sensational teenager.
Scarlets mustered a pair of second half tries in response – Liam Williams and Gareth Davies on the scoresheet for the Welsh region.
Bielle-Biarrey was named in a much changed XV for the hosts which included Argentinian international Santiago Cordero at scrum-half for the first time in Bordeaux colours.
The opening try of the contest came mid-way through the first half, and was certainly worth the wait. Scarlets Liam Williams mishandled a high ball allowing Bordeaux to capitalise.
A free-flowing passing combination involving Matthieu Jalibert and Cordero opened up the Scarlets defense before Jalibert offloaded at the last second to Woki who capped-off a sensational try.
The lead was doubled moments later. Cordero timed an offload to perfection as he hit Bielle-Biarrey at full speed as he dissected the Scarlets defensive line, powering his way through a tackler to dot down under the posts.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 16, 2022
Williams’ afternoon went from bad to worse on the half hour as he was sent to the sin bin. Bordeaux took full advantage, Jalibert unleashed a long pass out to the right for Bielle-Biarrey who in turn found Geoffrey Cros for the third try of the contest.
Bielle-Biarrey’s second try of the afternoon came four minutes into the second half – Jalibert again the creator. Jalibert’s pass was juggled by the full-back, but he grasped the ball at the second attempt, crossing the whitewash untouched.
Scarlets then got on the scoreboard with a try of their own. A sumptuous cross field kick from replacement Rhys Patchell was picked up by Liam Williams, the full-back dotted down with a superman dive in the corner.
Cordero then turned provider again for Bordeaux’s fifth try. A Patchell clearance was caught by the Argentinian who ran through a gauntlet of would-be tacklers before finding Lamothe in space, the replacement hooker finishing the move.
Davies then intercepted a cross field kick for Scarlets before racing the length of the field for a second try for the Welsh. Bordeaux responded within minutes as Nans Ducuing benefitted from a Bastien Vergnes offload to notch the hosts’ sixth try.
There was still time for Bielle-Biarrey to complete his hat-trick, he walked into the corner off the back of a well worked Bordeaux scrum, completing the rout.