Planet Rugby

Stade Français continue winning streak

11th October 2008 17:20

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Stade Francais fans in Paris and pink

Job done: Stade take four points from Ravenhill

Stade Français backed up their perfect domestic start with a comfortable 26-10 victory over lowly Ulster at Ravenhill on Saturday.

Playing in their usual pink jerseys, Ewen McKenzie's side continued their Top 14 stance thus far in 2008/09 as they utilised their star Argentine drop-goal exponent Juan Martin Hernández from the outset in order to gain the early initiative on ten minutes.

It was always going to be a stifling job of the home support from the men in pink during the opening exchanges and they continued their attempts at goal from open play in the moments after - much to the jeers of the fired up Ulster faithful.

However, with territory and possession favouring the unbeaten Parisians during the first quarter there was relatively little to perk up the Magners League basement side.

Hernández was of course the man orchestrating the French tune, this time being on hand to demonstrate his skills with ball in hand as a loop with stand-in lock Simon Taylor led to centre Guillaume Bousses strolling over from 25 metres out - the scores now 0-13 in Northern Ireland.

That advantage quickly became sixteen on 27 minutes as the Puma pivot struck his second drop-goal from all of 40 metres that drifted back in the wind nicely to the sound of more home heckling.

But Head Coach Matt Williams finally had something to clutch and take to the changing rooms on the half-hour as Ulster began to mount their first notable period of pressure on the Stade line, albeit with no result.

With Ireland international boss Declan Kidney a keen observer in the stands, inside centre hopeful Paddy Wallace battled bravely and fired a beautifully weighted pass to Clinton Schifcofske, who sent the ball back inside to the held up Bryn Cunningham - testing times for Stade?

Not so until after the interval as the pink wall held firm in conjunction with a lack of ideas from Ulster's controlling players. But points were finally posted from fly-half Niall O'Connor on 49 minutes as he struck a sweet penalty from distance to bring the scores back to 3-16.

One sensed a possible shift in the balance and that if Ulster were going to set up a nervy finish for their opponents they would have to breach the Stade defence as soon as possible.

Yet the brute power of France U20 World Cup centre Mathieu Bastareaud quickly put paid to any hope of a home revival as he slipped three tacklers before being felled by O'Connor close to the line. But hooker Dimitri Szarzewski was on hand at the resulting phase to pick and burrow over and open a 20-point cushion on the hour.

That score and a further drop-goal from Beauxis ultimately sealed the result for the visitors as they seem to have added a steely edge to their away performances that should trouble several in Europe this season.

However, the final word went to the dogged and bloodied Wallace who raced onto an O'Connor grubber into the Stade in-goal area as a gutsy Ulster posted themselves on the scoresheet late on.

The scorers:

For Ulster:

Tries: Wallace

Con: O'Connor

Pen: O'Connor

For Stade Français:

Tries: Bousses, Szarzewski

Con: Beaxis 2

Pen: Beauxis

Drop: Hernández 2, Beauxis

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Clinton Schifcofske, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Keiron Dawson, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Rory Best (C), 1 Tom Court.

Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Justin Fitzpatrick, 18 Carlo Del Fava, 19 Matt McCullough, 20 Cillian Willis, 21 Ian Humphreys, 22 Paul Steinmetz

Stade Français: 15 Lionel Beauxis, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Brian Liebenberg, 11 Julien Saubade, 10 Juan Martin Hernández, 9 Noel Oelschig, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Pierre Rabadan, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Simon Taylor, 4 Arnaud Marchois, 3 David Attoub, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.

Replacements: 16 Mathieu Blin, 17 Sylvain Marconnet, 18 Pierre Vigouroux, 19 Juan Leguizamon, 20 Terry Bouhraoua, 21 Mathieu Bastareaud, 22 Djibril Camara.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

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