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PREVIEW: Concentration key for Zebre in Oyonnax

Friday 17th October 2014

12:00 am (GMT)

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Dopo due stagioni europee la franchigia di Parma non ha ancora conosciuto il successo in coppa. Sabato ci riprova in Challenge Cup ospitando i francesi di Oyonnax nella pool 5. - 16/10/2014 15:01

Dopo due stagioni europee la franchigia di Parma non ha ancora conosciuto il successo in coppa. Sabato ci riprova in Challenge Cup ospitando i francesi di Oyonnax nella pool 5. - 16/10/2014 15:01

Zebre and Oyonnax meet for the first time with the Italians looking to open their account in Europe.

Following two fruitless seasons in the Champions Cup, Zebre make their first appearances in the Challenge Cup looking to break their duck.

However victory over Ulster, Champions Cup finalists two seasons ago, offered signs of real progress.
Head coach Andrea Cavinato said: “The results have not reflected our performances against some of the best teams in the world. I thought we deserved more.

“We will approach Europe with the same intensity as the Guinness Pro12: We know that the French Top14 is a competition of the highest level and that the positions of teams changes because it is so competitive.

“So although Oyonnax are last in the standings, they are a very physical team and determined. We cannot have lapses in concentration or thinking of having a race easier than the ones played so far.”

This will be only the second season Oyonnax have appeared in the Challenge Cup, following promotion to the French Top 14 in 2013 and proved more than capable of competing at this level.

They beat previous winners Sale Sharks as well as former finalists Stade Francias and held Worcester Warriors to a draw. This competition could also prove a welcome distraction from the Top 14 where they have struggled to climb the table, despite proving a real handful for the likes of Toulon, Montpellier and Clermont-Auvergne in recent weeks.

Match Facts

  • This will be Zebre’s first ever appearance in this tournament, and the first ever meeting between these sides in European competition.
  • Oyonnax made their first appearance in this tournament just last season (W2, D1, L3).
  • Zebre have never won a game in European competition in 12 attempts.
  • Oyonnax won the fewest turnovers on average of any team in the Challenge Cup last season (3.7 per game).
  • Zebre averaged just 5.5 points per game in last season’s Heineken cup, fewer than any other side in the competition.


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REPORT: Oyonnax comeback clinches away win

Saturday 18th October 2014

12:00 am (GMT)

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Alors qu'il se déplaçait avec des ambitions

Alors qu'il se déplaçait avec des ambitions

When Zebre led by eight points with the game entering the final quarter it looked odds on they would make it ‘Lucky 13’ and pick up their first win in European competition.

But the mountain men of Oyonnax scaled the heights in the final 20 minutes to overhaul their hosts 33-24 and leave the Italians still waiting for that opening victory. If it was harsh on the home side, it was a brilliant finish by the Top 14 team.
The early exchanges were littered with penalties and it was no surprise that the scoreboard only moved thanks to the boots of Regis Lespinas for the visitors and Edorado Padovani for the home side. Padovani kicked three to Lespinas’ two to give Zebre a 9-6 lead.
But Padovani missed a fourth shot at goal and failed to add the extras to the first try of the game by hooker Andrea Manici. That left the half-time score at 14-6 in their favour.
The Oyonnax revival started at the beginning of the second half, although only after Lespinas had missed with another penalty, and a try by Silvere Tian was converted by his outside half to cut the gap to a single point.
Kelly Haimona and Lespinas then swapped penalties before Zebre struck with a try from full back David Odiete. With Haimona’s conversion the Italian’s were eight points clear at 24-16 with 20 minutes left to play.
But the Oyonnax effort merely got stronger the longer the game wore on and they ended with a burst of 17 unanswered points to pick up their first away win in Europe. Two tries in the space of six minutes from  
Christophe Andre and Yoann Domenech took them ahead and Lespinas’ boot did the rest.
The Oyonnax outside half ended the game with 18 points and his 79th minute penalty was the final nail in the
Zebre coffin.

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