Ahead of Tuesday’s 2022/23 EPCR Challenge Cup pool draw, we look at the clubs returning to the competition, and highlights of their past appearances, beginning with Aviron Bayonnais.  

2005/06: Quarter-finals 

In only their second season competing in the Challenge Cup, Bayonne reached the knockout stages for the first time during the 2005/06 campaign before bowing out at the quarter-finals when they were beaten 48-5 by finalists London Irish. 

At the pool stage, Bayonne recorded four wins from six games on their way to recording 20 points, with both of their losses coming against Gloucester Rugby – who would go on to lift the trophy. 

Two of Bayonne’s Pool 3 wins came against Romanian club Bucharesti, before completing a European double over RC Toulon, which included an emphatic 62-0 over their TOP 14 rivals at Stade Jean Dauger.Bucharesti, before completing a European double over RC Toulon, which included an emphatic 62-0 over their TOP 14 rivals at Stade Jean Dauger. 

2011/12: Highest points total  

Bayonne’s best points total at the pool stage came in the 2011/12 season as they agonisingly missed out on a place in the quarter-finals for a second time in their history.  

The French club tallied 22 points across their six Pool 3 games, finishing just two behind Wasps, who were beaten by eventual winners Biarritz Olympique at the quarter-final stage.  

Despite finishing second in Pool 3, with a record of five wins and one loss, it was still a record-breaking campaign for Bayonne. 

During their 92-6 win over Femi-CZ VEA Rovigo, Bayonne set their record for most tries and conversions in a single Challenge Cup game as well as recording their highest score and win margin in the competition.