Aviron Bayonnais clinch stunning debut draw at Munster Rugby

Aviron Bayonnais clinch stunning debut draw at Munster Rugby

Munster Rugby were stunned by Investec Champions Cup debutants Aviron Bayonnais, who earned a 17-17 draw at Thomond Park after a hugely impressive performance.

Munster led 14-3 at the break after tries from wing Shay McCarthy and Number 8 Gavin Coombes, but Aviron Bayonnais staged a stunning second half performance to force a draw with a try from wing Rémy Baget and conversion from fly-half Thomas Dolhagaray. 

The French side started the game as they meant to go on, with an early penalty converted by scrum-half Maxime Machenaud. 

But soon Munster Rugby seemed back on track and took the lead when wing Shay McCarthy got over, with fly-half Jack Crowley converting. 

Soon Munster Rugby added a second as Number 8 Gavin Coombes got himself on the board, Crowley converting again. 

Aviron Bayonnais, however, were not for turning. Full-back Cheikh Tiberghien thought he went over for the TOP14 side’s first-ever Investec Champions Cup try, but it was brought back for a knock-on. Despite that Aviron Bayonnais maintained their pressure, and could feel hard done by going in 14-3 down. 

But they didn’t let that keep them down, and they came out swinging after half time, earning their reward in the 47th minute when replacement Junior Tagi forced his way over, with Machenaud converting. 

A Connolly penalty put the lead back up to seven, but Aviron Bayonnais remained the team on top and eventually they shocked the Thomond Park crowd by drawing level. 

With the clock ticking closer and closer to 80, Rémy Baget got over in the corner to set up fly-half Thomas Dolhagaray who equalised by adding the extras with an impressive kick from the tee. 

With the clock in the red, Munster Rugby pushed deep into Aviron Bayonnais teritory for one last chance- but Crowley’s drop goal attempt was slice wide and the French side secured a historic result. 

Aviron Bayonnais will now host Glasgow Warriors, while Munster Rugby will travel away to Exeter Chiefs. 

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