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Maiden victory in EPCR for Aviron Bayonnais

MATCH REPORT: In a thrilling final Champions Cup pool match, Aviron Bayonnais secured a maiden win in EPCR’s leading competition against Exeter Chiefs.


Flyhalf Thomas Dolhagaray kicked 10 points, converting five of Aviron Bayonnais’ six tries.

It was an all-action first-half in the French Basque country, as fullback Tom Spring got the scoring underway for the hosts after just a minute.

The hosts scored four tries in the first 40, with second row Kote Mikautadze plus wings Aurélien Callandret and Victor Hannoun joining Spring on the scoresheet – flyhalf Thomas Dolhagaray converting three.

Two of those tries were scored with Exeter Chiefs down to 14, centre Ollie Devoto in the sin bin, while Aviron Bayonnais also spent the last part of the half a man down after Dolhagaray was shown yellow.

Exeter Chiefs crossed once, hooker Dan Frost racing down the wing to go over with centre Henry Slade adding the extras.

Just as the first-half started with a quick try, so too did the second as Dafydd Jenkins forced himself over for Exeter Chiefs within a minute of the restart.


His second-row partner Rus Tuima quickly followed him over the whitewash, as the visitors took advantage of the fact Dolhagaray was still off the pitch. Both tries went unconverted.

Aviron Bayonnais were soon back down to 14-men when Aurélien Callandret became the third player to go to the bin in the match – but it was the hosts, not the visitors, who scored whilst the wing was off the field as Federico Mori went over to all-but settle the match.

Just as soon as the game was back to 15-a-side, Jenkins saw yellow and Mori soon went over for his second.

And Exeter Chiefs suffered another yellow and a red card before the end of the game, Jack Yeandle following Jenkins into the bin for a deliberate knock on before Joe Hawkins was sent off for making head contact in a challenge with no mitigation.


Aviron Bayonnais now face a campaign in the EPCR Challenge Cup knockout stage.


For Bayonne:
Tries: Spring, Mikautadze, Callendret, Hannoun, Mori 2
Cons: Dolhagaray 5

For Exeter:
Tries: Frost, Jenkins, Tuima
Cons: Slade


Bayonne: 15 Tom Spring, 14 Aurélien Callandret, 13 Sireli Maqala, 12 Yan Lestrade, 11 Victor Hannoun, 10 Thomas Dolhagaray, 9 Guillaume Rouet, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Baptiste Heguy, 6 Pierre Huguet, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 4 Denis Marchois (captain), 3 Junior Tagi, 2 Vincent Giudicelli, 1 Matis Perchaud.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Swan Cormenier, 18 Martin Villar, 19 Manuel Leindekar, 20 Manex Ariceta, 21 Kleo Labarbe, 22 Federico Mori, 23 Bastien Pourailly.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Ben Hammersley, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Tom Cairns, 8 Greg Fisilau, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Ethan Roots, 5 Dafydd Jenkins (captain), 4 Rusi Tuima, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Dan Frost, 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Danny Southworth, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Lewis Pearson, 20 Ross Vintcent, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Joe Hawkins, 23 Zack Wimbush.

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Saba Abulashvili (Georgia), Shota Tevzadze (Georgia)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

Source @EPCR

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