Limoux got the better of Lezignan 14-6 in a scrappy game in Carcassonne at the French Magic Weekend.
An error-strewn game threatened to boil over on a few occasions and it was the Grizzlies who prevailed, thanks to the boot of Shaun Nona.
They ended the game with 12 men after Quentin Garrouste was sinbinned, but Lezignan had left themselves with too much to do in the final five minutes.
The game started in a manner that was far withdrawn from how it would play out, with both sides going close in the early exchanges.
Pierre-Louis Bourrel tried to burrow his way over in the second minute from dummy half, only to knock on over the line, while at the other end, a long pass out wide for Dorian Gouzy to score was deemed forward.
On a heavy pitch, which had seen Avignon defeat Palau earlier in the day, it was the forwards that had to do the bulk of the work, with Remy Marginet’s short ball going to ground as Lezignan looked to open the scoring.
It took 29 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, Lucas Vergniol going over for Limoux, Nona converting to give them a 6-0 half-time lead.
Lezignan came out firing in the second half and within five minutes they were on the board, Alexandre Costes crossing on the left hand side, Marginet missing the goal from wide out as the Grizzlies retained a slender two point lead.
That was wiped out on 58 minutes though, with both teams awaiting a scrum for an apparent knock-on, the referee awarded a penalty after intervention from a touchjudge, and Marginet didn’t need asking twice to knock over the penalty from a central position, 27 metres out for 6-6.
Lezignan had looked the more likely to score until then, but it was Limoux who had the next chance to probe the line – forcing a drop out as Marginet and Amine Miloudi failed to deal with a short kick through.
With less than 20 minutes to play, going for a drop goal may have entered their minds, but it didn’t matter, as prop Valentin Yesa powered over and Nona converted for 12-6.
Lezignan struggled to build pressure, regularly spilling the ball, and when Nona was able to slot over a penalty on 73 minutes, their task was almost impossible.
And so it proved, as despite Garrouste’s yellow card for delaying a 20 metre restart, Limoux held on to get their season off to a winning start.
Line-ups and scorers.
Lezignan: Miloudi, Gouzy, Cardace, Bonneriez, Tort, Farret, Marginet, Tribillac, Bouzinac, Bartes, Stacul, Costes, Ors. Subs: Bousquet, Albert, Hack, Grandjean.
Try: Costes. Goal: Marginet
Limoux: Santo, A Bourrel, Mayans, Garrouste, Flovie, P-L Bourrel, Nona, Yesa, Liauzun, Herold, L Vergniol, B Vergniol, Rouch. Subs: Murphy, Mickalezyk, Puso, Barbaza.
Tries: Vergniol, Yesa. Goals: Nona 3.
Half time: 0-6
Penalty count: 7-5