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PREVIEW: Ibanez hoping to pressurise Edinburgh

Thursday 15th January 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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L'UBB reçoit vendredi soir les London Welsh

L'UBB reçoit vendredi soir les London Welsh

Bordeaux-Begles head coach Raphael Ibanez will be hoping to pile on the pressure on Pool 4 leaders Edinburgh by picking up another five points against London Welsh.

The Frenchmen ran in seven tries in a 52-26 rout of the Exiles at the Kassam Stadium in round two and their only slip-up to date in the opening four rounds was in the opening game at home against Edinburgh. That 15-13 reverse has left them behind the unbeaten Pool leaders to date, but the Scottish capital side have to end with two games against Top 14 opposition.

Ibanez and co-coach Joe Worsley know that anything less than the full five points will be below par against a London Welsh team that have yet to win a match this season. But if they can reach that goal on home soil then it will mean Edinburgh’s trio to Lyon on Sunday will become that bit tougher.

Bordeaux have pushed their Fujian giant Metuisela Talebulamaijaina into the midfield and will be hoping that outside half Pierre Bernard can match the 20 points he plundered at the Kassam in the first meeting of the two sides.

As for the visitors, facing a five-day turnaround after their Aviva Premiership defeat at Newcastle Falcons last weekend they have include eight members of last season’s Championship-winning side. Rob Lewis and Tristan Roberts form the half-back partnership, with Matt Corker captaining the side as they look to avoid their 20th successive defeat this season.

Match Facts

  • Bordeaux-Begles have won three of their last four home games in the Challenge Cup.
  • London Welsh have lost their last three away games in the tournament.
  • Begles’ Thibault Lacroix has made 12 offloads in the Challenge Cup this season, nobody else has hit double figures heading into round five.
  • London Welsh have won 35 turnovers in the competition this season, the most of any side this season. 

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REPORT: Gallant Exiles make Bordeaux struggle

Friday 16th January 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Jamais menacée

Jamais menacée

Without a win to their name this season it was going to be too much to ask of London Welsh to go to Bordeaux and open their account, but Justin Burnell’s side made the home team sweat before finally conceding the four tries that earned the Top 14 outfit the bonus point they craved.

When the two teams met in round two at the Kassam Stadium, the Frenchmen ran riot as they plundered seven tries in a run-away 52-20 victory. Raphael Ibanez’ side were 25 points ahead by the break.

But at Stade Andre Moga they ran into a stubborn, well-organised and highly competitive Exiles team who simply refused to lie down. The game remained scoreless for the first 25 minutes and the home side, currently in fifth place in the Top 14, only broke their duck after James Lewis had been sent to the sin-bin after 21 minutes.

Half-way through his touchline break he saw hooker Clement Maynadier break the deadlock and cross for the opening try of the night. Pierre Bernard knocked over the conversion, but it was the visitors who scored next.

When the Exiles exerted some pressure and picked up a penalty it allowed Tristan Roberts to kick for goal and narrow the gap. But before Lewis returned, centre Charles Brousse raced over for a second try which Bernard one again improved.

Nevertheless, changing ends at 12-3 must have pleased Burnell and his coaching team and the stalemate continued for long periods of the second half. The Exiles had a break five minutes after the re-start when wing Paulin Riva went to the sin-bin.

London Welsh weren’t able to turn their numerical advantage into points and Roberts was wide with a second kick at goal before their stubborn resistance was finally broken by the giant Fijian centre Metuisela Talebulamaijaina in the 67th minute. This time Lionel Beauxis potted the conversion to make it 19-3.

Now it was all about the bonus point try and the Exiles hung on until the 73rd minute when back row man Bernard Guiry crossed. The five points allowed Bordeaux-Begles to move level with unbeaten Pool 4 rivals Edinburgh.

The Scottish side play in Lyon on Saturday night and will want to win to maintain their unbeaten record ahead of their Murrayfield showdown with Bordeaux.

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