Monday 23 September 2019

Stade Francais take leaders' scalp

Jules Plisson of Stade Francais kicks a penalty
Jules Plisson of Stade Francais kicks a penalty

John Fallon

French champions Stade Francais have made a stuttering start to their defence of their Top14 crown but they will head into the Champions Cup boosted by a 14-9 win over league leaders Clermont Auvergne.

It was only the second defeat for last season's Champions Cup runners-up but they were always chasing the game in Paris as Stade raced into an 11-0 interval lead.

Jules Plisson settled Stade with a penalty before Jono Ross got their only try. Plisson extended the home lead but they endured a nervous finish as the leaders came back with a couple of penalties from Brock James and one from Camille Lopez.

Despite the win, Stade are 11th in the table heading into European action, with their 13 points so far leaving them with a lot of ground to make up on the leaders with Clermont top of the pile with 29 points after eight rounds of games. They will be full of confidence now heading to Welford Road for Friday's night Champions Cup opener against a Leicester side who stumbled to their first defeat of the campaign.

The Tigers slipped to fourth in the Premiership when they fell to a 19-6 loss away to Exeter Chiefs in front of 10,102 at Sandy Park.Exeter led 13-3 at the break and Leicester's only response was a penalty in either half from Owen Williams as former Ulster player Gareth Steenson scored all 19 points for the Chiefs.

Treviso scored three tries at the Sportsground, with Kiwi Jayden Hayward getting a brace, but left without a point as they fell to a seventh straight loss on a 33-19 scoreline against high-flying Connacht.

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