Bayonne are back in European competition after a two-year absence, their return having been sealed by their victory in the PRO D2 final against Brive last month. Below, we find out a bit more about the French club before the European Rugby Challenge Cup draw on June 19.
What is their European record like?
Bayonne have played in the Challenge Cup 12 times but only reached the quarter-finals once – in 2005/06, when they lost 48-5 at London Irish.
Who is their head coach?
Bayonne’s head coach is former France hooker Yannick Bru, who won the European Cup with Toulouse in 2003 and 2005, as well as the Challenge Cup with Colomiers in 1998. Altogether he made 72 European appearances as a player, all but eight with Toulouse.
The 46-year-old went on to become forwards coach with the four-time European Cup winners for five years, before being appointed to a similar role with France in 2012 for the same length of time. Bayonne is his first head coach position.
Not long until the #ChallengeCupRugby Pool Stage Draw as all eyes turn towards Marseille 😍
— Challenge Cup (@ERChallengeCup) May 25, 2019
Who are their new signings?
Bayonne have signed four players for next season – prop Census Johnston and lock Edwin Maka from Racing 92, versatile back Alofa Alofa from Harlequins and lock Mariano Galarza from Bordeaux-Bègles.
The 38-year-old Johnston, a veteran of 57 internationals for Samoa, won the European Cup with Toulouse in 2010, while the 32-year-old Galarza, who was capped 26 times by Argentina, was a Challenge Cup champion with Gloucester Rugby in 2015.
Alofa is also a Samoan international, having won eight caps.
Who are their top players?
Antoine Battut is Bayonne’s captain and, at 35, is vastly experienced, having also played for Auch, Montauban, Racing Metro 92 and Montpellier.
Lock Abdelatif Boutaty, a 36-year-old Moroccan international, is also well-travelled, having featured for Toulouse, Pau, Montauban and Stade Français Paris.
In addition, watch out for scrum-half Emmanuel Saubusse, fly-half Manuel Ordas and Australian wing Latu Latunipulu.