By Colin Renton
FORMER Scotland Under-20 stand-off Ben Chalmers helped Bordeaux-Begles to a penalty shoot out victory in an extraordinary final of the French Under 23 Championships against Clermont Auvergne in Limoges on Sunday.
Four penalties by Chalmers, the second son of 1990 Grand Slam star Craig, left Bordeaux 13-12 in arrears at halftime and he added the conversion of a try by prop Thierry Paiva to edge his side into a 19-16 lead with 21 minutes left to play. Two further penalties by Chalmers’ counterpart Theo Defrance, who had booted 17 points including the conversion of a try by Damian Penaud, snatched back the initiative for Clermont but a drop goal by scrum half Erwan Nicolas squared matters once more with ten minutes to play.
With no further scoring, the match went into two ten minute periods of extra time. Chalmers and Defrance recorded their first misses in the first half of extra time, but Bordeaux broke the stalemate with three minutes left when Fijian winger Eroni Tuwai dotted down and Chalmers added the extra points. However, a converted try by Pedro Bettencourt for Clermont in the last minute sent the match into a penalty shoot out
Kicks were taken from the 22 metre line in front of the posts. Chalmers was on target and the tension mounted as both sides missed twice, leaving the scores deadlocked at 5-5 after seven attempts. But Clermont hooker Lacky Lee was wide with his effort and Bordeaux number 8 Marco Tauleigne snatched victory when he steered the ball between the uprights.
Image courtesy of Scottish Rugby/SNS Group