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Monday Jun 14, 2021

WATCH: That dramatic first time rugby actually went to a penalty shoot-out

Penalty shoot-outs are generally reserved for fans of the spherical ball rather than the oval, but last weekend Biarritz guaranteed its promotion to France’s Top 14 after a sensational play-out match against arch-rivals Bayonne.

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The two sides were tied 6-6 after extra time, with Biarritz captain Steffon Armitage slotting the decisive penalty kick in front of the posts to finally secure the victory.

It sparked wild scenes, with home fans surging onto the pitch to celebrate with their players.

WATCH: Ex-England no.8 Armitage scores dramatic penalty shootout winner

Of course, it wasn’t the first time that a penalty shoot-out has been used to decide a rugby match before. In fact, the very first time came in 2009 as Leicester Tigers narrowly edged out Cardiff Blues in a memorable Heineken Cup semi-final encounter.

Leicester had looked like cruising to victory and a place in another cup final heading into the closing minutes of the match. They led 26-12 with seven minutes left to play, but were down to 13-men after two yellow cards. Jamie Roberts first touched down in what seemed like a consolation try but when Ben Blair slotted the touchline conversion, it brought the home side to within a converted try.

Then the unthinkable happened. Tom James ran the length of the field not two minutes later, with Blair again banging over the touchline conversion. It was all square and remained so during extra time.

The penalty shoot-out was as intense as you could imagine, although even at the time, it was criticised for being too gimmicky and too much like football.

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With all the backs having kicked their penalties successfully, it was then down to the forwards to take their shot at goal. Martyn Williams crucially missed his kick, with Jordan Crane finally putting an end to an epic game with the match-winning kick.

Whatever the opinion of penalty shoot-outs, there is no escaping the somewhat cruel ending when one player inevitably misses their shot at the posts. What it always promises though, is drama right until the very end.

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