KO 8.00 at Hive Stadium
Saturday 6th April 2024
Live on Viaplay Sports 1

  • At the start of the current season, Bayonne had never played a Scottish side in a competitive fixture. On Saturday they will make it a Caledonian double as they take on Edinburgh for the first time, having tackled Glasgow Warriors back in December.
  • Since making the Challenge Cup final at the end of the 2014/15 season, Edinburgh have contested 11 knockout fixtures (five in this tournament, three in the Champions Cup and three in the URC) and have managed just a single victory.
  • That series of matches includes defeats in five out of six games played at either Murrayfield or the Hive. It is hugely important that the capital club take advantage of home comforts and put Bayonne away in the Round of 16 as they look to rebuild some positive momentum with the tail end of the season looming.
  • The visitors have only played one knockout match in European competition, a 48 – 5 quarter-final loss against London Irish during Bayonne’s first ever Challenge Cup campaign back in 2005/06.
  • Edinburgh have played 17 matches so far this season (Europe plus URC) and average:
    • 22.3 points and 2.6 tries scored per game;
    • 22.9 points and 2.9 tries conceded per game.
  • Bayonne have played 24 matches so far this season (Europe plus Top 14) and average:
    • 21.6 points and 2.5 tries scored per game;
    • 25.5 points and 3.1 tries conceded per game.

Route to the Round of 16:

Edinburgh (8th seeds):

Round 1: ASM Clermont Auvergne 31 – 18 Edinburgh

Round 2: Edinburgh 34 – 21 Castres Olympique

Round 3: Edinburgh 20 – 21 Gloucester

Round 4: Scarlets 19 – 31 Edinburgh

Bayonne (9th seeds):

Round 1: Munster 17 – 17 Bayonne

Round 2: Bayonne 11 – 12 Glasgow

Round 3: Northampton 61 – 14 Bayonne

Round 4: Bayonne 40 – 17 Exeter

Average stats Challenge / Champions Cup:

Carries per 80 mins
Edinburgh 106 – 114 BAYONNE

Metres per carry
Edinburgh 3.0 – 3.4 BAYONNE

Carries per line break / tackle break
Edinburgh 4.2 – 3.6 BAYONNE

Passes per 80 minutes
Edinburgh 117 – 132 BAYONNE

Tackles per 80 minutes
EDINBURGH 162 – 140 Bayonne

Tackle completion
Edinburgh 86% – 87% BAYONNE

Lineout success
Edinburgh 81% – 86% BAYONNE

Scrum success
Edinburgh 64% – 96% BAYONNE

Penalties conceded per 80 minutes
EDINBURGH 10.5 – 12.0 Bayonne

The stand out stats that will make Edinburgh wary are scrums and clean breaks. Despite taking on some pretty powerhouse packs in this season’s Champions Cup pool stages, Bayonne only lost a single scrum on their own feed.

They are in no way a one dimensional, forward-dominated team though. In January they faced a potential end to their European campaign and responded with a remarkable 24 clean breaks against Exeter, tearing the Chief’s defence apart time and time again to hand Bayonne their first ever win in the Champions Cup.

Discipline is an issue though, and with Ben Healy almost certain to be in the Edinburgh lineup, the home side will feel they are well placed to take maximum advantage if the visitor’s penalty count mounts up.

Potential route to the final:

These teams are playing for a quarter-final place the following weekend which will either be:

  • Away to 1st seeds, Sharks; or
  • At home against 16th seeds, Zebre Parma

A trip to South Africa at short notice won’t be a particularly attractive prospect for either of these sides. For Bayonne, it would compromise the lead up to their Top 14 match away to Stade Francais the following Saturday.

Edinburgh would find themselves on the long trek south again, a little over a week after flying back from Durban. They’d then need to immediately head home to prepare for a game v Scarlets at the Hive that has to provide a bonus point win to keep up the playoff push in the URC.

The logistical challenge would only be matched by the on field test of a very speedy rematch against the Sharks after the South African side’s 23 – 13 win last Saturday in the URC.

If Edinburgh or Bayonne do make it as far as the tournament semi-finals, it seems highly likely that will involve a game in France with ASM Clermont Auvergne (whom Edinburgh played in the pool stage) and Montpellier the highest seeded sides in the matched quarter-finals.

Barring an upset or two, the other side of the draw’s rankings should send Benetton of the URC on the road for a semi-final clash versus Premiership side, Gloucester.

Speaking hypothetically at this stage, if Edinburgh were to make it to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 24th May it could be a re-run of their 2015 Challenge Cup final against Gloucester (that ended 19 – 13 in the English side’s favour) and also yet another potential repeat of a group encounter from this  season – the Cherry and Whites edged out Edinburgh by a single point at the Hive in January.