The lowdown on Bordeaux-Begles ahead of Euro tie
Bordeaux top the group thanks to their 57-17 victory over Russian side Enisei-STM in Siberia last weekend, Newcastle taking the full five points from Saturday’s 32-27 triumph over Welsh side, Dragons.
The 34,600-capacity Stade Chaban-Delmas is the former long-time home of Bordeaux’s French top flight soccer team, who in 2015 moved into a new stadium. That allowed Bordeaux-Begles to put down roots at a venue which hosted matches during the 1998 football World Cup and 20017 Rugby World Cup, the ground having originally been constructed to host cycling events.
Bordeaux-Begles sit fifth in the French Top 14 table after winning five of their seven games, the most recent of those being a 30-27 home win over Toulon on October 7.
Among their star players are Fijian international wing Metuseila Talebula, Samoa hooker Ole Avei and Fiji prop Ravai Kovekalou.
Bordeaux-Begles’ coaching team has a familiar flavour for followers of British and Irish rugby, with former England international Joe Worsley serving as their defence coach. Former Gloucester full-back Rory Teague is their backs coach, with ex-Ireland and Lions lock Jeremy Davidson the forwards coach under director of rugby, former Italy head coach and France forwards coach Jacques Brunel.
Bordeaux-Begles’ record in European Challenge Cup action reads played 60, won 28, drawn one and lost 31. That compares to Newcastle’s record of played 107, won 70 and lost 37.
The only season in which Newcastle were drawn against Bordeaux-Begles was the 2000-1 campaign, when the Falcons won back-to-back fixtures.
The first of those was a 26-18 triumph on French soil in which tries from Michael Stephenson and Epi Taione were added to by the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.
Newcastle followed that up the week after with a 39-15 thrashing of their visitors, six penalties and three conversions from current head coach Dave Walder adding to tries from Ross Nesdale, Doddie Weir and a penalty try.