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The French connection

From Bod’s hat-trick to Sexton’s drop-goal, no opponent has defined this Irish rugby century quite like France

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Skivington over the moon with shock win over Bordeaux

By PA
George Skivington - PA

George Skivington hailed his Gloucester side after they pulled off a famous 26-17 victory over Bordeaux-Begles at Stade Chaban-Delmas in the Heineken Champions Cup.

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The Cherry and Whites had crossed the English Channel as underdogs as they pursued a rare victory on French soil, and had travelled in the hope other results would go their way in Pool A as they chased a place in the knockout stages.

Group winners Leinster’s success over Racing 92 ensured the eighth and final place from their group remained open and Gloucester grabbed the opportunity with hungry hands thanks to two tries from new England squad member and hooker George McGuigan.

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Albert Tuisue also crossed while a conversion and three penalties from youngster George Barton secured them a last-16 tie against either holders La Rochelle or record winners Toulouse in France in April.

“I’m immensely proud because Bordeaux don’t lose very often here,” said Gloucester head coach Skivington. “We knew it was going to be a massive challenge but I thought the resilience the boys had when it wasn’t going our way to solve the problems was excellent.

“To come to France to play and beat a fully-loaded Bordeaux, a side who have had some good results in their league in the last few weeks, was a big step forward for us as a group.”

Gloucester’s matchday captain Billy Twelvetrees did not mind the blood oozing from a cut on his nose as he addressed a victory that the army of supporters who had made the trip were describing as one of the best in the club’s history.

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“It was a great result and bounce back after being pretty humbled last week by Leinster,” he said. “It was the way we stuck to the task in a pretty hostile environment that was impressive.

“To get a win like this is so good, not just for the fans who came out here to France but for the club. You play rugby because you love it but also for results like this.”

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Rookie full-back Barton shrugged off the din from Bordeaux’s supporters in an attendance of 25,000 as he lined up shots at goal to successfully kick three vital penalties and a conversion for an 11-point haul that was to prove decisive.

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“I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” said Barton. “It was amazing for me to play in a stadium like this and in front of a crowd like that.

“It was a real bear-pit of an atmosphere and it was being able to deal with the noise. I was just trying to stick to my process.”

Skivington said: “George was outstanding, it was a great experience for him.”

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