Bayonne 14-24 La Rochelle, Stade Jean-Dauger
La Rochelle have claimed the top position in the Pool 1 one of the European Challenge Cup competition after securing a 14-24 win over Bayonne at Stade Jean-Dauger on Thursday.
However, a stubborn resistance from Bayonne in the second half saw them deny La Rochelle the much needed bonus point.
The first 10 minutes saw Bayonne fly-half Raphael Lagarde and his counterpart Brock James exchanging penalties. Lagarde soon brought Bayonne back into the lead with his second penalty in the 26th minute but they lost their lock Adam Jaulhac when he was sin-binned four minutes later.
La Rochelle made full use of the advantage of having a man extra after lock Leandro Cedaro and prop Mohamed Boughanmi crossed over just before the half-time. James converted both the tries allowing the visitors to have a 9-17 lead at the end of the first half.
Centre Lepani Botia Veivuke extended La Rochelle's advantage into the second half when he touched down in the 42nd minute and the visitors stretched the lead to 15 points after third successive conversion from James.
Any hope of Bayonne making a comeback was dampened after wing Julien Jane was sin-binned in the 50th minute, though, this time La Rochelle did not score any points.
A desperate effort from La Rochelle to secure the bonus point was affected when replacement Alexis Bales was yellow-carded in the 63rd minute.
Even though, Bastien Fuster responded for the home side with a 79th minute try, Bayonne succumbed to a 10-point defeat and are yet to register a victory in the five games they played this season.