“We are certain that Bayonne won’t sing for us. We will be thrown in the lion’s die “. Clear, precise, Bayonnais Adrien Bordenave declared that they were going to throw us into the lion’s den. This declaration summarises the task ahead of the Oyonnaxians during the semi-final, which almost looks like the final. Joe El Abd’s commando-style men will be aiming for the Top 14 and will approach the Basque lawn. We will need to eat on this atmosphere. We will be 23 players against 16,000, and we alone against all. To tighten us, we will need to come together. “This is where we’ll see the character and strength of the group,” explains Bearn, the left pillar who was trained in Oloron.

Oyonnax is forced to play his semi-final at home after he failed to negotiate his penultimate home match against Aix-en-Provence (16 to 20). Oyonnax hopes to cross the course on which he has been mounding since 2019. Bayonne was there to beat Oyonnax in the semi-final (34–38). The Oyomen then descended from Top 14 following a disappointing setback in the Grenoble play-off (47-22).

The Aindinois are used to playing in unfortunate cleaver matches and will treat this half as the best meeting of the year. “We are under pressure but we have been working with her from the beginning of the season. It will be our responsibility to make it work for us to unify. We will not be trusted, but we will do our best to make it work. Joe El Abd announces that Bayonne will be the place where we put our game to the test under pressure.

Young players in French rugby’s elite would be able to repeat the coup Agen of 2009 in Armandie. Christophe Urios’ men were the first to win a second-division semi-final away from their home. It will be important for everyone to stick to the game plan and not just save the homeland. Joe El Abd, a former Top 14 semi-finalist, explains that this was another asset that allowed us win the play-off against Colomiers.

“And then, we approach this meeting with a better condition than the previous half that we played last year in Perpignan (27.5-15). Last season, Aime-Giral was difficult for us to reach, so we had to manage the form of the players. We have done everything this year to make sure everyone arrives in peak form, and we were spoiled for choice at the end,” explained the English technician.

Oyonnax will ensure that he has a good start at Jean-Dauger. The fifteen Indians will need to concentrate to avoid being again subject to the wrathful refereeing body. Three Oyomen were temporarily expelled during the championship’s return match and so they lost their chance of getting a result at Jean Dauger. The Oyonnax pioneers have never won in Bayonne since 2003. They will strive for nothing less than a feat.