Stade FranÃ§ais booked a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final on Friday with a nail-biting 29-25 victory over Clermont.
Stade FranÃ§ais booked a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final on Friday with a nail-biting 29-25 win over French rivals Clermont at Stade Charlety in Paris.
The hosts were outscored three tries to two, but fly-half Lionel Beauxis landed 19 points from the kicking tee to send the Parisians into the final in Cardiff where they will face either Munster or Harlequins.
In a ding-dong battle that saw the lead change hands a number of times, Stade FranÃ§ais led 19-10 at the break only to find themselves trailing by a point with half-an-hour left on the clock.
Clermont will head home harbouring many regrets as their own indiscipline allowed Beauxis to hand the advantage back to Stade FranÃ§ais in the final quarter.
Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra will also rue two vital misses in the closing stages as he failed to convert Jamie Cudmore's late try as well as an earlier penalty.
Full-back George Pisi gave les Jaunards the early lead but an intercept try from wing Julien Arias drew Stade FranÃ§ais level.
Beauxis then nailed three penalties as the hosts took a stranglehold on the match.
In the second half Clermont fly-half Brian Russell made amends for throwing Arias's intercept pass by using his pace to score a fantastic solo try. Parra's conversion put Clermont back in front.
Russell was however again to blame for Stade's second try as Guillaume Bousses picked up a loose ball from a stray pass to score.
Cudmore's late effort for Clermont was too little, too late.
For Stade FranÃ§ais:
Tries: Arias, Bousses
Cons: Beauxis 2
Pens: Beauxis 5
Tries: Pisi, Russell, Cudmore
Cons: Parra 2
Pens: Parra 2
Stade FranÃ§ais Paris: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Gonzalo Tiesi, 11 Guillaume Bousses, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Antoine Burban, 6 James Haskell, 5 Pascal Pape, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 David Attoub, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Remi Bonfils, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Damien Weber, 19 Arnaud Marchois, 20 Pierre Rabadan, 21 Juan Leguizamon, 22 Noel Oelschig, 23 Ollie Phillips.
ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Tusiata Pisi, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 AurÃ©lien Rougerie, 12 Marius Joubert, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 Brent Russell, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Elvis Vermeulen, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Jamie Cudmore, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Julien Pierre, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Vincent Debaty.
Replacements: 16 Mario Ledesma, 17 Lionel Faure, 18 Martin Scelzo, 19 Alexandre Audebert, 20 Sione Lauaki, 21 Kevin Senio, 22 Gonzalo Canale, 23 Anthony Floch.
Referee: Nigel Owens