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Galleries - WP ID 161
Bath broke the French hold on the Heineken Cup in a final that can only besummed up in one word – dramatic.
No script writer would have dared pen an ending to a match that was ultimately served up and that literally had the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats. It was pure theatre.
Early in the second half, and nine points adrift, Bath appeared to be on the ropes – with Brive poised to provide the killer punch as they camped on theBath line with a succession of scrums.
Seven times the 1997 Heineken Cup winners tried to break Bath and seven times Bath refused to buckle. The psychological battle was won and lost in those few power-packed minutes.
But if that settled the mind game, the match still had to be won on the scoreboard and, although Bath left it desperately late – 80 seconds into injury time – full back Jon Callard clinched it with his fourth penalty goal.
That was the one and only time Bath were ahead, Brive centre Christophe Lamaison kicking five first half penalty goals and full back Alain Penaud adding a drop goal in the 65th minute.
Lamaison had one final penalty goal chance to keep the cup in France but was wide to the right and then fly half Lisandro Arbizu watched in despair as his attempted drop goal also failed to find the target.
Now Bath have joined Toulouse and Brive on the Heineken Cup 'Roll of Honour', the tournament simply getting better and better with each season.