Edinburgh finished their 2009/10 Heineken Cup campaign on a high with the scalp of Stade FranÃ§ais in a 9-7 victory at Murrayfield.
Edinburgh finished their 2009/10 Heineken Cup campaign on a high with the scalp of Stade FranÃ§ais in a 9-7 win at Murrayfield on Saturday.
It was by no means at classic in Scotland and the Parisian outfit will be very thankful that Ben Cairns failed to hold a second-half intercept pass that might have dumped them out of the top tier last eight, with Ulster doing their bit down in Bath.
But Edinburgh will be happy to claim a morale-boosting win over the French that stands them in good stead going into the Magners League break.
There was a minute's applause before the Round Six kick-off as a mark of respect for Bill McLaren's Tuesday passing and it was one of his five grandchildren, Jim Thompson, who started well with a breakout inside home territory.
Edinburgh had just pride to play for while Stade were all but assured of making the cut, which viewers hoped would release the shackles. It did not as a monotonous kick-fest made the spacious Murrayfield stadium feel more like a rugby ghost town.
The French side scored the only try of the game through lock Pascal Pape, but three penalties from Chris Paterson gave the hosts four points 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. The three points saw the full-back became their highest points scorer in Heineken Cup history, eclipsing the previous record held by Duncan Hodge.
Despite the majority of the opening exchanges being played in the visitors' half, it was Paris who registered the first try as Pape powered over from close range. 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 entering the second period.
It was Edinburgh who registered the first points of the second half, the accuracy of Paterson's kicking remaining impeccable as he slotted his third penalty of the game, capitalising on further Stade indiscipline on the floor.
Stade then sent on Scotland international Simon Taylor, after twelve weeks out with a bicep injury, as the back-rower looks to prove his fitness to national coach Andy Robinson ahead of the Six Nations. But Taylor could not prevent the Edinburgh pack from continuing to wreak havoc around the fringes, the ubiquitous Roddy Grant looking dangerous.
The home pack looked set to reap the rewards of their dominance, but a rampaging move resulted only in a five-metre attacking scrum after the hosts were held up over the try line.
Stade's defence proceeded to withstand wave upon wave of attritional forward play from the hosts, until the colossal figure of 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 an opportunity to stretch their lead as the visitors once again committed an offence at the breakdown. However, winger Thompson sliced his penalty to leave the final result in the balance.
Fly-half Phil Godman failed to convert a last-minute penalty attempt that would have added gloss to the scoreline, yet it proved inconsequential as Edinburgh held on for a victory while Stade progressed at the expense of Ulster.
Pen: Paterson 3
For Stade FranÃ§ais:
Edinburgh:15 Chris Paterson, 14 Mark Robertson, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Jim Thompson, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Roddy Grant, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alan MacDonald, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Andrew Kelly, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements:16 Ross Ford, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 Davey Young, 19 Craig Hamilton, 20 Scott Newlands, 21 Ross Samson, 22 John Houston, 23 Simon Webster.
Stade FranÃ§ais:15 Lionel Beauxis, 14 Djibril Camara, 13 Geoffrey Messina, 12 Guillaume BoussÃ¨s, 11 Marc Gasnier, 10 Ignacio MierÃ¨s, 9 Hugo Southwell, 8 Juan Leguizamon, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 James Haskell , 5 Pascale PapÃ©, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Rodrigo Roncero (c).
Replacements:16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Pedro Ledesma, 19 Pierre Vigouroux, 20 Simon Taylor, 21 Aristide Barraud, 22 Mathieu Bastareaud, 23 Mirco Bergamasco
Referee: Wayne Barnes