Pre-Season Friendly: Bayonne 40 – 3 Ulster
Bayonne, playing their second game in five days, following last Friday’s friendly against Pau, opened strongly with 19 unanswered points before young out-half James McKinney, making his first appearance in a senior Ulster shirt, slotted over a penalty close to the half-time break.
A considerable crowd turned out to watch Bayonne’s final pre-season game before they host Toulouse in the first round of the Top 14 in two weeks time and they were not disappointed.
Bayonne were on the scoreboard with a converted try after 15 minutes and added a second try (unconverted) just after the quarter mark, running the length of the field after Ulster turned the ball over.
The home side stretched their lead with a third try (converted) on 35 minutes with a neat grubber kick in behind the Ulster defence before young Ulster outhalf James McKinney opened the visitors’ account with a penalty just before the stroke of half time.
Half-time Score: Bayonne 19-3 Ulster
Two unanswered converted tries in the first quarter of the second half stretched Bayonne’s lead to 33-3 and by the 70 minute mark and with all 11 of Ulster’s replacements used, the French had added another to push the score out to 40-3.
Full-time Score: Bayonne 40 – Ulster
Post Match Quotes from Director of Rugby David Humphreys
“While we’re disappointed with the score-line, it was not wholly unexpected given where the two teams are in terms of their pre-season preparations.”
“Given that we are missing so many of our regular match-day 23, either through international call-up or injuries, this game has been a very good opportunity and a steep learning curve for our young players who got a chance this evening to see what playing at this level is all about”.
“The game was very set-piece orientated, in typically French fashion Bayonne were very strong up front and mauled us a lot but in comparison to our friendly last season against Harlequins which was very similar, this time we actually got some ball although being the first run-out we had too many turnovers which didn’t help and a number of their tries came from our mistakes.”
“No-one likes to be sitting in the dressing room on the wrong end of a 40 point score-line but on the whole we’re certainly not panicking, and we have two more friendlies and plenty of work ahead of us before our first competitive game against Glasgow in the Pro12.”
On a positive note, there appear to be no serious injuries from the game; “As you’d expect from an early pre-season game we had some players with cramp but other than a few bumps and bruises we appear to have come through the match unscathed.” said Humphreys.