pepito alhorga bayonnePépito Elhorga guided Bayonne safely through both a torrential downpour and the best efforts of Harlequins to bank the four Pool 1 points on offer and give them the perfect incentive for the test on Friday night against Connacht Rugby at the Sportsground.

In atrocious conditions they outscored the Quins 2-0 in tries to notch up their debut tournament win against British opposition in 15 attempts.

And the 18-times capped full back has set his sights on seeing that backed up with another win in Bayonne’s first clash with an Irish side.

“Starting with a win in the Amlin Challenge Cup is great news for us especially since we registered three domestic defeats in a row, so that performance cheered us up big time,” he said.

“The other good news is that we will benefit from our full squad; all our players are fit following our Round 1 game.

“The conditions were terrible in that game against the Harlequins but that didn’t stop us from playing the ball. They came with strong intentions since they want to do well in the tournament, and so do we.

We had to win that Round 1 match so it’s a big relief and a much needed moral boost.

“On top of that we are now provisionally first in our group so it’s the best start we could hope for to go through to the knock-out stages.

“It’s been a long time since Bayonne have experienced a final so we want to get at least a home quarter final.

“However, our ambitions are the same as those of Harlequins and Connacht so it’s going to be tough until the very end.

“I have to say we were quite surprised to see that Connacht lost to the newcomers Cavalieri – maybe they went through a bad phase.

“Personally speaking I have never played against the Irish province but they are always there, like the stalwarts of this tournament.

“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.

“However, 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.

“Our strength at the moment is that we don’t let go, we are committed 100 per cent from kick-off time to the final whistle. And that is a quality that both English and Irish squads master as well.

“They rarely let their guard down and they put on constant pressure.

“Up front I think we are rather good in gaining territory, so if we can get on the front foot in that area that’ll help our backs make the difference.

“I think Connacht have the same assets – they are very solid up front and fast in the three-quarters.”