Stade slam Bath to progress to semis
April 6, 2013
Bath's Kyle Eastmond is tackled in his side's loss against Stade Francais © Getty Images
The line-up for this season's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals will see Perpignan tackle Stade Francais and Leinster take on Biarritz.
Stade Francais booked their place in the last four with a 36-20 victory over Bath at The Rec on Saturday. Two first-half tries from Waisea Nayacalevu Vuidravuwalu helped put the French side 20-3 up at half-time, with fly-half Stephen Donald getting a solitary penalty for the home side.
A penalty try for Bath early in the second-half narrowed the gap but two quick scores from Stade full back Hugo Bonneval quickly made it 30-10 with 20 minutes remaining. Substitute scrum-half Michael Claassens wriggled his way over in the 65th minute to begin what looked like a Bath comeback, with Jack Cuthbert also going over the whitewash with a couple of minutes remaining but it was too little too late.
On Friday night, Perpignan prevailed 30-19 over Toulouse in the all-French clash at the Stade Aime Giral. Sebastien Taofifenua, Farid Sid and Sebastien Vahaamahina touched down for the hosts while James Hook three conversions and two penalties and Romain Terrain added another three-pointer. Lionel Beauxis kicked four penalties and converted Edwin Maka's try for an under-strength Toulouse side.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Ian Madigan scored 28 points to lead Leinster a 48-28 victory over Wasps in a thrilling encounter at Adams Park. The Ireland international, who took centre stage for Leinster in the absence of the injured Jonny Sexton, burst over for a try as well as landing five penalties and four conversions. Leinster ran in five tries in total with Rob Kearney, Gordon D'Arcy, Mike Ross and Isa Nacewa all touching down along with Madigan.
It was just enough to eclipse the electric showing of Wasps' Christian Wade, who ran in two terrific tries in the first half in front of England coach Stuart Lancaster and Lions coach Warren Gatland. Wade's fellow flyer, Tom Varndell, grabbed two tries in the second half to keep the home crowd interested but ultimately the Heineken Cup champions proved their class.
And on Thursday, scrum-half Dmitri Yachvili pulled the strings as defending champions Biarritz ran in three tries to beat Gloucester 41-31 at Kingsholm. In a frantic start the Basque side took an early 6-3 lead through a Damien Traille drop-goal and Yachvili penalty, while Freddie Burns responded with a penalty for the hosts. The fly-half then picked out Mike Tindall on the wing for the opening try of the night, but a yellow card for prop Dario Chistolini allowed Biarritz to take the initiative. Wing Teddy Thomas ran in two tries, the second after Yachvili had picked him out on the wing with a delicate chip-kick. Hooker Arnaud Heguy barrelled over for a third shortly before half-time and with Yachvili having converted all three tries, the visitors lead 27-14 at the break.
Gloucester hit back strongly at the start of the second half and while Burns kicked a penalty to bring Gloucester back to within 10 points, the West Country outfit were unable to break through Biarritz's defence. After a sustained period of pressure Taku Ngwenya counter-attacked off Yachvili and centre Benoit Baby was on hand to take his pass and put the result beyond doubt. Substitute Seremaia Burotu scored a fifth for Biarritz and while Shane Monahan and Huai Edmonds came off the bench to score, Biarritz had already shown that they will not let their grip on the trophy go easily.
Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final fixtures:
April 26: Perpignan v Stade Francais, Stade Aimé Giral
April 27: Leinster v Biarritz, RDS
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