12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
BAYONNE 6 IRELAND 42, Stade Jean Dauger (Att: 13,000)
Scorers: Bayonne: Pen: Richard Dourthe; Drop: Richard Dourthe
Ireland: Tries: Paul O'Connell 2, Denis Hickie 3, Andrew Trimble; Cons: Ronan O'Gara 3; Pens: Ronan O'Gara 2
First Half Updates: Ireland, playing in blue as it is a not an international game, made an impressive start with Ronan O'Gara landing a first-minute penalty, chipping over from a central position from 25 metres out.
A first try soon followed with good lineout possession seeing Paul O'Connell driven over in the corner in the eighth-minute. Gordon D'Arcy was very prominent in the build-up as he raced from the halfway line up the Bayonne 22 to set up a good position for the Irish to attack from.
An O'Gara crossfield kick paved the way for Denis Hickie to brilliantly run in Ireland's second try, 11 minutes in. The Leinster winger gathered it and darted from his own ten-metre line right to the try line, evading two would-be tacklers on his way. O'Gara converted for a 15-0 scoreline.
Bayonne then had lock Cedric Bergez sin-binned, but the numerical advantage was squared up when Irish flanker Neil Best also saw yellow coming up to the half-hour mark. The French hosts managed to get their first points on the scoreboard when Richard Dourthe bisected the posts with a penalty, as Ireland, with most of the players playing together for the first time since the spring, predictably lost their shape a little.
Denis Leamy was forced off with an unconfirmed injury in the 37th-minute, with his Munster team-mate Alan Quinlan replacing him and he had an immediate impact as it was his long pass which led to Andrew Trimble skating over for Ireland's third try in injury-time. O'Gara narrowly missed with the conversion attempt - Bayonne had, just minutes earlier, notched a successful drop goal through Dourthe. Half-time - Bayonne 6 Ireland 20.
Second Half Updates: Ireland shoot out of the blocks again at the start of the half, scoring two tries in the space of six minutes with Hickie and O'Connell again off the mark. Two minutes after the resumption, Hickie danced his way over the close to the left touchline for a 25-6 Irish lead.
Five minutes later, Ireland again carved open the hosts' defence. In arguably the try of the night, the charge forward was led by prop Marcus Horan who made his way up towards the Bayonne 22 before he offloaded when being tackled for the supporting O'Connell (pictured © Sportsfile) who showed great pace and strength to hold off the challenge of Daniel Larrechea and cross the whitewash. O'Gara tagged on the extras for a 32-6 buffer.
O'Gara's second penalty of the night moves Ireland further clear. Word from the Ireland camp is that Leamy injured his shoulder but it is too early to say how serious an injury it is.
In a bruising encounter which saw six players yellow carded (four from the home side, Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll was forced off in the 61st-minute having been punched in the face by Bayonne replacement Mikaera Tewhata.
But Ireland let their rugby do the talking and completed the victory four minutes from time when the on-form Hickie ran in his third try with O'Gara pinging over the conversion. Full-time - Bayonne 6 Ireland 42.
Bayonne: Daniel Larrechea; Vincent Inigo, Xavier Garbajosa, Richard Dourthe (capt), Benjamin Lhande; Henri-Pierre Vermis, Julien Tilloles; Jean-Marie Usandisaga, David Roumieu, Aretz Iguiniz, Rob Linde, Cedric Bergez, Jacques Deen, Louis Massabeau, Dwayne Haare.
Replacements: Arnaud Heguy, Julian Fiorini, Mikaera Tewhata, Marc Baget, Anthony Sallecanne, Shaun Hegarty, Simon Ternisien.
Ireland: Girvan Dempsey; Andrew Trimble, Brian O'Driscoll (capt), Gordon D'Arcy, Denis Hickie; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Rory Best, John Hayes, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Simon Easterby, Neil Best, Denis Leamy.
Replacements: Frankie Sheahan, Bryan Young, Malcolm O'Kelly, Alan Quinlan, Eoin Reddan, Paddy Wallace, Geordan Murphy.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)