Glouces­ter come up short against Parisse’s Parisians

The Rugby Paper - - News - ■ From NICK CAIN at Mur­ray­field

STADE Fran­cais have been Europe’s nearly men for so long they must have thought they were jinxed.

How­ever, the play­ers who went on strike a few weeks ago to foil a merger with arch Parisian ri­vals Rac­ing, fi­nally car­ried them over the thresh­old with a fi­nal quar­ter surge in the Ed­in­burgh driz­zle which swept gritty Glouces­ter aside.

A 56th minute try by Jonathan Danty – one of the lead­ers of the strike – was the spark that car­ried them to their first Euro­pean sil­ver­ware in five at­tempts, hav­ing lost two Euro­pean Cup and two Chal­lenge Cup fi­nals pre­vi­ously.

The de­ci­sive try stemmed from a loose Mike Scott pass which was snared by Djib­ril Ca­mara and slick in­ter­play with Hugo Bon­neval saw the mus­cu­lar Danty blast home to fin­ish a 70 me­tre move for a 15-10 lead.

With Stade’s su­pe­rior set­piece throt­tling a Glouces­ter side who were chron­i­cally in­dis­ci­plined – los­ing the penalty count 12-2 – there was no way back. The French club’s mo­nop­oly of pres­sure, pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory was re­warded ten min­utes from time when out­side-cen­tre Geoffrey Doumay­rou wrong-footed Mark Atkin­son and Billy Twel­ve­trees be­fore burst­ing past Greig Laid­law for a spec­tac­u­lar try.

With Morne Steyn con­vert­ing and adding a penalty to make it 25-10 the pink co­hort of Stade fans that had made the jour­ney were ec­static, and although Glouces­ter ral­lied to score a late try by Ross Mo­ri­arty it was never go­ing to de­rail the Parisian cel­e­bra­tions.

The con­di­tions did not dampen the re­solve of ei­ther side as they went full tilt from the start. How­ever, it was Stade who made the big­ger in­roads, threat­en­ing when Ser­gio Parisse’s be­hind-the-back pass to Jules Plis­son saw Danty carry to the edge of the Premier­ship out­fit’s 22.

Danty kept the spec­u­la­tive stuff go­ing with a floated pass to the out­side, but had not spot­ted May loi­ter­ing with in­tent. The Glouces­ter wing picked off the pass, set­ting off like a su­per­charged lurcher to score from 75m out, Billy Burns con­vert­ing for 7-0.

Glouces­ter did not let them come up for air, with Jeremy Thrush charg­ing up the mid­dle, and Burns kick­ing a penalty to make it 10-0 mid­way through the firsthalf.

Stade’s fight­back started with a Plis­son penalty, and their depth of ex­pe­ri­ence and class then told when a clever an­gled chip to the posts by Will Ge­nia saw Hugh Pyle’s tap-back col- lected on the bounce by the for­mi­da­ble Parisse for the touch down.

Plis­son’s con­ver­sion lev­elled it at 10-10, and eight min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val a rash chal­lenge by Wil­lie Heinz – where he shoved Plis­son in the face af­ter a clear­ance – saw Glouces­ter re­duced to 14 men.

The sin-bin­ning was a piv­otal mo­ment, be­cause although Glouces­ter held out un­til half-time they lost shape, rhythm and en­ergy as a con­se­quence – and were lucky not to lose Lewis Lud­low to the bin as a fiercely com­pet­i­tive half ended with an all-in wres­tle on the touch­line.

The ar­rival of Laid­law for Heinz early in the sec­ond­half saw Glouces­ter threaten briefly, no­tably when a Plis­son penalty miss was fol­lowed by a Laid­law chip and Tom Mar­shall chase. It was a close call but the TMO ruled rightly that the full-back touched down just af­ter the ball crossed the dead-ball line.

Af­ter that Glouces­ter were given a les­son in not just how to take your chances, but also how to take con­trol by a pas­sion­ate Stade side that fi­nally – and de­servedly – broke their Euro­pean hoodoo.

PIC­TURES: Getty Images

Dif­fer­ent class: Stade cap­tain Ser­gio Parisse leads the tro­phy cel­e­bra­tions

Fast start: Jonny May grabs early try for Glouces­ter

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.