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RC Toulon make their return to the Challenge Cup this season for the first time since 2012 against fellow French side Bayonne on Friday night, live from Stade Jean Dauger at 19:45 GMT.
Toulon reached the final of this competition in 2012, winning five pool stage matches before eventually being beaten by Biarritz Olympique.
- Bayonne and RC Toulon have met just twice previously in European competition, with Bayonne winning both fixtures in the 2005/06 Challenge Cup pool stage.
- Bayonne won 62-0 in their sole home match against Toulon in the Challenge Cup. That was the only time that Toulon have failed to score a single point in a European match.
- Toulon lost just one of 46 scrums on their own feed in the Heineken Champions Cup last season with a 98% scrum success rate bettered only by Toulouse.
- Julian Savea notched 379 minutes in the Heineken Champions Cup last season for Toulon, the most of any player at the club.
🎉 #ChallengeCupRugby is back TOMORROW 🎉
We were in Marseille yesterday to celebrate the start of the competition as the journey to #Marseille2020 kicks off ⤵️https://t.co/g0TjJeUFxw
— Challenge Cup (@ERChallengeCup) November 14, 2019
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Two tries in four first half minutes by South African prop Marcel van der Merwe helped Toulon to a 20-13 win at Bayonne in Pool 2 of the Challenge Cup.
The visitors had trailed 3-0 to an early penalty from Bayonne fly-half Manuel Ordas and it stayed that way for much of a hard-fought opening half.
But then van de Merve struck with a brace of touchdowns in a crucial spell minutes before the to put the visitors on the path to success.
They were made to fight for the points though as Bayonne hit back to lead 13-10 within six minutes of the restart as Ordas landed a penalty and then converted a try by centre Peyo Muscarditz.
40' #ABRCT #ChallengeCup Action identique de l'autre côté et même marqueur ! Marcel Van Der Merwe inscrit un doublé sur ballon porté ! pic.twitter.com/wDTip3UwoR
— RCT – RC Toulon (@RCTofficiel) November 15, 2019
Winger Julian Savea got Toulon back on course with a try in a thrilling finish to give them a 15-13 advantage going into the final minutes.
Pour ce premier match de @ERChallengeCup, nos Bayonnais ont superbement représenté les couleurs du Pays Basque en menant un rude combat face aux Toulonnais qui s’imposent 13 à 20 pic.twitter.com/lsu22SbolM
— Aviron Bayonnais (@avironrugbypro) November 15, 2019
Then with just four minutes on the clock replacement Anthony Etrillard stepped up to provide the decisive try and get Toulon off to a winning start in the competition.
Next week’s Pool 2 games see Toulon host Scarlets on Friday night while Bayonne travel to London Irish on Saturday.
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