The Stade Francais and France international back row Rémy Martin has signed a three year deal with Bayonne which will see him move to the Basque club next season.
The 29-year-old will join Bayonne in August and will stay at the Jean Dauger Stadium until at least 2011. Martin spent seven seasons at Stade Français where he won three French championship titles and played in the 2005 Heineken Cup final loss to Toulouse at Murrayfield.
Bayonne coach Richard Dourthe believes Remy Martin's experience will help the club to improve and to compete with the best sides in France.
"Rémy was a charismatic player in Paris. When we heard that he wanted to leave Stade Français, we jumped at the chance. Bayonne are looking for a player like him, he's a very interesting recruit and signing him shows we want to be at the top of the French championship." explained the former Bayonne captain.
Rémy Martin is looking forward to the new challenge with the Basques and hopes to become a leader with his new side:
"I spent seven wonderful years in Paris but I was looking for something different with fresh challenges. Bayonne want to be THE club of the Basque Country and to play in the Heineken Cup next season. The team want me to be a leader within the side which is something new for me."
Bayonne will play in Pool 5 of the 2008/09 European Challenge Cup alongside Saracens, Viadana and another French team Mont de Marsan.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.