IRISHMAN CONOR GASTON will start on the left wing for Jeremy Davidson’s Aurillac in their Pro D2 promotion play-off final against Bayonne tomorrow [KO 3.15pm Irish time].
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A win would see Davidson’s side cap a remarkable season with promotion into the Top 14.
Davidson has worked wonders with Aurillac. Source: Darren Kidd
Ulster man Gaston has been with Aurillac since 2013, having spent a year with London Irish in 2012/13. The powerful wing made his Ulster debut in 2010 and earned a total of five appearances for the province before leaving for England in 2012.
The 25-year-old has largely been an ever-present in Davidson’s team since arriving in France and he has made 20 starts in the current campaign, scoring three tries. Now Gaston will look to play his part in one of the biggest days in Aurillac’s history.
Former Ulster, London Irish, Castres, Ireland and Lions second row Davidson has been the driving force behind the club’s rise in his role as head coach.
Aurillac, despite having the fourth lowest budget in the league, finished the Pro D2 regular season in third position.
A 28-13 win at home to Mont-de-Marsan in the promotion play-off semi-finals has now left the Cantal-based club one win away from earning a place in the Top 14.
Gaston is a key man for Aurillac. Source: Stade Aurillacois
Davidson has consistently overachieved with Aurillac, guiding them into the play-off semi-finals in 2013 and narrowly missing out on a semi-final last season with a sixth-placed finish.
The average budget in the Pro D2 this season was in the region of €7.25 million, but Aurillac had just €4.52m to work with.
Champions Lyon, who were promoted with six regular season games left after a dominant campaign, had almost €20m to work with, while Bayonne had a budget of €11.3 million.