Monday 19 March 2018

Bayonne wary of backlash

BAYONNE and France full-back Pepito Elhorga has admitted his surprise at Connacht's Challenge Cup defeat to Cavalieri Prato last weekend, but insists the province will be a different proposition on their home patch.

Bayonne trumped Harlequins in their opening round match last weekend, bringing to an end a run of three straight defeats, and Elhorga immediately targeted a home quarter-final for his side.

"I have to say we were quite surprised to see that Connacht lost to the newcomers Cavalieri -- maybe they went through a bad phase," said Elhorga, who won 18 caps for France.

"They did really well last season, qualifying for the semi-finals before losing to Toulon in an extremely tight game, and with five Irish internationals in their squad, they don't lack talent and they are very physical by tradition.

"We will prepare with the intention to win at Connacht and keep our momentum going, because if we want to get a quarter-final, we have got to get results from everywhere.

"We will try to come away from Ireland if not with a win then at least with a bonus point, but most of all, we want to have a big game."

Meanwhile, South African forwards Schalk Brits and Ernst Joubert have agreed new contracts with Saracens.

Brits, a dynamic ball-carrying hooker, was named the Premiership Players' Player of the Year last season.

Irish Independent

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