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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Thursday, September 24th 2020

Preview: Bordeaux-Bègles (h) - Challenge Cup semi final

Bristol Bears host Bordeaux-Bègles in the semi final of the European Challenge Cup on Friday night (7.45pm KO, BT Sport 2 HD). 

Pat Lam's men stormed to a seven-try victory over Dragons in the quarter final to book their place in the last four of a European competition for the very first time.

Christophe Urios' Bordeaux edged out Edinburgh at Stade Chaban-Delmas to set up a mouthwatering tie in BS3. 

Everything you need to know ahead of Friday's European Challenge Cup semi final against Bordeaux Bègles.


Match details

  • Date: Friday, September 25th
  • Kick-off: 7.45pm
  • Competition: European Challenge Cup
  • Where: Ashton Gate
  • Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU), Assistants: Luke Pearce & Tom Foley, No.4: Paul Dix, No.5: Peter Brunt, TMO: Stuart Terheege, Timekeeper: Eric Bullion
  • Media coverage: BT Sport 2 HD

Team news

Siale Piutau makes his return to the starting line-up as Bristol Bears set their sights on the European Challenge Cup semi-final on Friday (7.45pm KO).

The former Tongan international captain is one of five changes to the side that overcame Dragons in the quarter-finals.

Ed Holmes comes into the second row in place of Dave Attwood, while Harry Randall starts in place of Andy Uren. Max Malins is named at full back in place of Charles Piutau (achilles) and Alapati Leiua comes in for Henry Purdy (hamstring).

Bristol have reached the Challenge Cup semi-final for just the second time, and their only previous appearance at this stage was a 51-27 defeat by Pau in 1999/2000.

Bears include Academy utility back Ioan Lloyd among the replacements for the Ashton Gate clash.

Bristol Bears team to face Bordeaux-Bègles at Ashton Gate on Friday, September 25th (7.45pm KO):

15. Max Malins; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Siale Piutau, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Ben Earl, 8. Nathan Hughes.

System players: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. John Afoa, 19. Joe Joyce, 20. Dan Thomas, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Piers O’Conor.

Bordeaux-Bègles:

15. Nans Ducuing, 14. Santiago Cordero, 13. Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 12. Ulupano Seuteni, 11. Ben Lam, 10. Matthieu Jalibert, 9. Maxime Lucu; 1. Jefferson Poirot (c), 2. Clement Maynadier, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4. Kane Douglas, 5. Jandré Marais, 6. Cameron Woki, 7. Guido Petti, 8. Marco Tauleigne.

Replacements: 16. Joseph Dweba, 17. Lekso Kaulashvili, 18. Vadim Cobilas, 19. Cyril Cazeaux, 20. Alexandre Roumat, 21. Yann Lesgourgues, 22. Ben Botica, 23. Pablo Uberti.


Matchday programme


Last time out

Begles-Bordeaux 28-14 Bristol Shoguns | December 17th, 1999 | Stade André Moga

Bristol's last meeting with Bordeaux came during the 1999/2000 campaign and saw Bob Dwyer's side slip to their only defeat in the group stage that season.

Bristol finished top of Pool One that season, qualifying for the knockout stages where they would go on to record a memorable win at Biarritz in the quarter final before exiting the competition at the hands of Pau, who would go on to win the Challenge Cup.


Word from the camp

Pat Lam says his side will need raise their game to the next level when they take on Bordeaux-Bègles in the semi-final of the European Challenge Cup on Friday night (7.45pm KO, BT Sport 1 HD).

The Bears enjoyed a seven-try victory over Dragons in the previous round, but the Director of Rugby has warned that the leaders of curtailed 2019/20 Top 14 season will pose a huge challenge at Ashton Gate.

Subscribe to Bristol Bears TV by clicking here. 


Form guide

  • Bristol Bears and Bordeaux-Bègles have met twice before in the Challenge Cup, those two meetings coming in the pool stage in 1999/2000 with each tie being won by the home side
  • Bristol Bears have reached the Challenge Cup semi-final for the second time, and their only previous appearance at this stage was a 51-27 defeat by Pau in 1999/2000. Bordeaux will be playing in their first Challenge Cup semi final
  • Bristol and Bordeaux come into Friday night’s match with the same record in the Challenge Cup this season, each having won six matches and drawn once. Both clubs’ current streak of seven games unbeaten represents their best run in the competition
  • Ben Lam made his Challenge Cup debut for Bordeaux in their quarter-final victory over Edinburgh, beating eight defenders in the process, the most of any player last weekend
  • Semi Radradra made 96 metres for Bristol against the Dragons, the most by any player in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals. The Fijian centre also crossed for his third try in his last four Challenge Cup games – two of those tries coming for Bordeaux earlier this season

Bristol Bears: WWL
Bordeaux-Bègles: WWW  


Head-to-head

Steven Luatua vs Cameron Woki

The Bears captain has led from the front in expert fashion throughout the 2019/20 season, and the All Black flanker takes on Bordeaux's Cameron Woki at Ashton Gate on Friday night.

Callum Sheedy vs Matthieu Jalibert

At fly half, Callum Sheedy goes head to head with five-cap French international, Matthieu Jalibert in what promises to be a fascinating showdown on Friday night.


Statto's corner

  • Bristol Bears and Bordeaux-Bègles have met twice before in the Challenge Cup, the two matches coming in the pool stage in 1999/2000 with each tie being won by the home side.
  • Bristol have reached the Challenge Cup semi-final for just the second time, and their only previous appearance at this stage was a 51-27 defeat by Pau in 1999/2000. Bordeaux will be playing in their first Challenge Cup semi-final.
  • Bristol and Bordeaux come into Friday night’s match with the same record in the Challenge Cup this season, each having won six matches and drawn once. Both clubs’ current streak of seven games unbeaten represents their best run in the competition.
  • Bordeaux have scored nine tries in the Challenge Cup this season from turnovers, and no other club has scored as many in that way. Bristol have scored the most tries after receiving a kick-off or restart (4).
  • Bordeaux have lost just one of 47 scrums on their own put-in this season and as a result have the joint best scrum success rate in the competition (98%, level with Edinburgh), while Bristol have the third best rate (95%, 39/41).
  • Bordeaux have stolen 13 opposition lineouts, more than any other club.
  • Bristol’s Luke Morahan (17) has made the most clean breaks this season
  • Bristol’s Harry Thacker made the most carries of any forward in the quarter-finals (13), while Bordeaux full back Nans Ducuing made the most of any back (12).
  • Ben Lam made his Challenge Cup debut for Bordeaux in their quarter-final victory over Edinburgh, beating eight defenders in the process, the most of any player last weekend. 
  • Semi Radradra made 96 metres for Bristol against the Dragons last weekend, the most by any player in the quarter-finals. The Fijian centre also crossed for his third try in his last four Challenge Cup games – two of those tries were scored for Bordeaux during the pool stage.

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