Stade book play-off final spot

Date published: May 19 2017

Stade Français booked their spot in the Champions Cup play-off final after seeing off threat of Cardiff Blues in Paris in a 46-21 win.

Sekou Macalou scored two tries out on the wing for the Challenge Cup winners, who lifted the title in Edinburgh last Friday against Gloucester.

Played out in front of a scarce crowd at the Stade Jean Bouin, it was the Blues who surprised the hosts by taking an early lead thanks to scores from Macauley Cook and Nick Williams, both converted by Gareth Anscombe.

Stade did hit back before the break when Waisea Vuidarvuwalu powered his way over, converted by Morné Steyn to make it 10-14 to the Blues at half-time.

But the second half was all Stade, with the French side striking quickly through replacements Giorgi Melikidze and Mathieu de Giovanni, the big lock proving too powerful for the Blues' defence, as Stade opened up a 24-14 lead.

Macalou then pounced for his double, traditionally a back-row but selected out on the wing by Gonzalo Quesada, and showed off his speed to round the Blues' defence either side of a second try for Cook.

The hosts were saving the best until almost last, Laurent Panis going over at the end of an attack started by a brilliant cross-field kick from Sergio Parisse of all people.

Clément Daguin added to the rout with Stade's seventh try as the French side await the winner of Northampton Saints or Connacht next weekend.

The scorers:

For Stade:
Tries: Vuidarvuwalu, Melikidze, De Giovanni, Macalou 2, Panis, Daguin
Cons: Steyn 4
Pen: Steyn

For Blues:
Tries: Cook 2, Williams
Cons: Anscombe 3

Stade Français: 15 Jérémy Sinzelle, 14 Waisea Vuidarvuwalu, 13 Jonathan Danty, 12 Herman Meyer Bosman, 11 Sekou Macalou, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Matthieu Ugena, 6 Antoine Burban, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Paul Alo Emile, 2 Rémi Bonfils, 1 Heinke Van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Laurent Panis, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Mathieu de Giovanni, 20 Raphaël Lakafia, 21 Clément Daguin, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Jonathan Ross

Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Macauley Cook, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Rhys Gill
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Anton Peikrishvili, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Sion Bennett, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Rhun Williams

Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace (England), Paul Burton (England)
TMO: David Rose (England)