Friday 17 November 2017

Surprise as Stade prop up Top 14

French champions Stade Francais
French champions Stade Francais

John Fallon

The World Cup effect was always going to throw up some unusual results in the early stages of the various club leagues, but few would have envisaged that French champions Stade Francais would be bottom of the Top 14 after four rounds.

The Paris club - in Munster's Champions Cup pool along with Leicester Tigers and Treviso - have had a disastrous opening to the defence of their crown and fell to their third defeat in four games when they were hammered 44-20 away to Jake White's Montpellier at the weekend.

The trend, as always in France, has been for teams to win their home games and struggle away from home, and that's the way it has been in the Top 14 during the opening four rounds.

Accordingly, the 20-13 home loss to Toulon a couple of weeks ago is the result which sees Stade prop up the table as most others have managed to win their two home games.

The Top 14 takes a break now until mid-October for the World Cup.

The Premiership in England won't start until then, so Leicester continue their preparations with a game in the Kings of the North tournament they have organised with Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons to give themselves some competitive outings.

Leicester will host Falcons tomorrow at Welford Road when both will be looking for their first win after both were defeated by Sale.

Meanwhile, Treviso are still looking for their first win in the Guinness Pro12 after a late penalty saw the Italians fall to a 27-24 home loss to Edinburgh at the weekend.

Irish Independent

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