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Stade edge through to quarters



Stade Francais gained the losing bonus point they needed to reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals despite being outmuscled by their hosts at a sodden Murrayfield.

The French side scored the only try of the game through lock Pascal Pape, but three penalties from Chris Paterson gave Edinburgh a morale-boosting win at the end of a disappointing European campaign.

The trusty boot of Paterson opened the scoring with an early penalty after Stade were penalised for infringing at the breakdown. The three points saw the full-back became Edinburgh's highest points scorer in Heineken Cup history.

Despite the majority of the opening exchanges being played in the visitors' half, it was the French side who registered the first try as second-row Pape powered over from close range. France international Lionel Beauxis landed the conversion to give Stade a 7-3 lead.

That advantage was cut by the hosts as half-time loomed, Paterson once again stroking over a penalty to ensure the game was finely poised. It was Edinburgh who registered the first points of the second half, the accuracy of Paterson's kicking impeccable as he slotted his third penalty of the game, capitalising on further Stade indiscipline on the floor.

The Stade defence withstood wave upon wave of tough forward play from the hosts, until the colossal figure of France centre Mathieu Bastareaud brought a lengthy passage of play to a shuddering halt with a trademark big hit.

But an incisive run from wing Mark Robertson enabled the home side to re-enter Stade territory, and they were soon presented with a chance to stretch their lead as the visitors once again committed an offence at the breakdown. However, winger Jim Thompson sliced his penalty. Fly-half Phil Godman failed to convert a last-minute penalty attempt that would have added gloss to the scoreline.

Scorers -- Edinburgh: Paterson 3 pens. Stade Francais: Pape try; Beauxis con

Edinburgh: Paterson (Webster 52); Robertson, Cairns, De Luca (Hueston 41), Thompson; Godman, Laidlaw; Traynor (Jacobsen 64) Kelly, G Cross, MacLeod (Hamilton 64), J Hamilton, MacDonald, Rennie (Newlands 33), R Grant

Stade Francais: Beauxis; Gasnier, Messina, Bousses (Bastareaud 47), Camara; Mieres, Southwell; Roncero (Slimani 66), Szarzewski (Kayser 50), Gerber (Ledesma 58), Palmer, Pape, Haskell, M Bergamasco (Taylor 52), Leguizamon

Referee: W Barnes (England)

Sunday Independent