Stade stumble yet progress
January 23, 2010
Ross Rennie is upended by the Stade defence
© PA Photos
Stade Francais suffered a surprise 9-7 defeat to Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon but qualified for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup nonetheless after securing the losing bonus point they needed from the game at Murrayfield.
Stade had led by a point at the interval thanks to Pascal Pape's 27th-minute try but Chris Paterson set up a nervy finale for the Parisians when he stroked over his third penalty of the game early in the second half.
Indeed, Stade came under intense pressure in the final quarter and were grateful for that the fact that James Thompson and Phil Godman missed two very kickable penalties in the final ten minutes of the game. As it was, though, the French would have scraped through anyway as Ulster, the only side who could have overtaken them at the summit of Pool 4, failed to accrue a maximum five-point haul from their win over Bath at the Recreation Ground.
Paterson opened the scoring with a penalty 12 minutes in but Stade rose their game thereafter and Pape crashed over from close range after a spell of incessant forward pressure from the Parisians.
However, Paterson was successful with another strike on goal shortly before the break to reduce the Edinburgh's arrears to a single point. By the fifth minute of the second half, Rob Moffat's men were ahead, courtesy of another assured swing of Paterson's right boot.
Edinburgh continued to press thereafter and set up camp in the Stade half in the closing quarter. However, the French outfit managed to keep their hosts at bay with a heroic defensive effort and ultimately restricted Edinburgh to penalties, both of which were squandered by Thompson and Godman, who had taken over the kicking duties following the withdrawal of Paterson 12 minutes into the second half.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton