Biarritz 19-21 Toulouse, Heineken Cup Final
Balshaw laments flat display
May 22, 2010
A dejected Iain Balshaw at the final whistle at the Stade de France © Getty Images
A disappointed Iain Balshaw felt his Biarritz side had turned in a "flat" performance as they fell to a 21-19 defeat against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup final in Paris.
The Basque side twice held a six-point lead during the opening half but 15 points from Toulouse fly-half David Skrela helped his side get out to a 21-12 lead, with the Toulouse scrum proving too powerful to handle for their opponents, as the game entered its final 10 minutes.
A fine try from Australian centre Karmichael Hunt, who is set to switch to playing Aussie Rules, got Biarritz back to within two points, but they could not find a winning score.
Former England international Balshaw told Sky Sports, "I am gutted to come that close and lose by two points. For 60 minutes they dominated the game and we were very flat. We weren't that aggressive and lacked dynamism, in the end the better team won the game.
"I thought in the last 20 minutes we had a bit of life in us. I am disappointed for the lads and the people that have travelled up. We were just off the boil and you can't be off the boil against a team like Toulouse.
Toulouse scrum-half Byron Kelleher hailed his side's victory as "awesome".
Celebrating his first European success, the former All Black said, "It's an awesome sensation. I have won the Top 14 and that was an awesome atmosphere but year after year this competition gets tougher and it is a huge challenge to come out as European champions."
The New Zealander believed the key to Toulouse's fourth Heineken Cup title was their clinical edge.
"They played with desperation near the end as both teams were fatigued, that's finals football. It goes to show you have to be switched on for 80 minutes but we took our opportunities and it paid off. We had confidence because we played with the ball a lot and we knew we could put pressure on them and fatigue them by playing with the ball, so that's what paid off for us."