Planet Rugby

Bath pipped at the post

Bath v Stade Francais Julien Dupuy

Jumping for joy, quite literallly. Julien Dupuy celebrates his last-gasp winner

18th October 2009 16:48

Share:

Nicky Little

Big Moment: Nicky Little dots down

Another Heineken Cup epic! Stade Franšais snuffed out a fine effort from Bath on Sunday, with a last-gasp penalty sealing a 29-27 win at the Rec.

It has been a weekend for fine French comebacks and the Parisians carried the torch into the final fixture of the round, coming back from 21-12 at the break to seal the deal with a 40-metre penalty from Julien Dupuy in the last minute of the game.

The visitors' slow start very nearer cost them dear, but they can't be accused of not doing their homework. They would have studied tapes of the Bath that sleepwalked into the season and thought the trip a breeze. Trouble was, that team didn't show up today.

The return of Nicky Little, standing flat and aggressive all afternoon, galvanised the Bath attack, allowing them to play to their strengths. The locals' plan was as simple as it was effective: get it out to Matt Banahan. The cowed Parisians simply had no answers to the big man's marauding runs.

But Stade Franšais are nothing if not clever. They controlled the play in the second half, keeping Bath far from their sticks and cutting off Banahan's supply of ball at source. A breakaway try from England Sevens stalwart Ollie Phillips and the boot of Dupuy did the rest.

Stade Franšais, resplendent in shocking pink, tore into the game. But for a knock-on, they would have scored a try in the opening minute of the game.

But as an agenda-setting gambit it paled in comparison to what came next: a sublime 40-metre drop-goal from Lionel Beauxis.

Despite the stunned silence of the local crowd, Bath responded well, working the ball through the hands, forcing the French to kill the ball in defence. Little stepped up and levelled the scores off the tee.

Julien Dupuy responded in kind as the 20-minute mark approached, and again Bath bounced back with aplomb, with Little beginning to pull the strings, sending his big backs into the gaps. The sea parted for Shontayne Hape and the centre was able to offload to his fly-half who bundled over for a try.

He failed to convert, but he was to get another bite at the same cherry moments later after a wonderful miss-pass from Banahan sent Matt Carraro over for Bath's second try.

Suddenly Bath had their tails up and the Parisians were ruffled. Very ruffled. Needless errors and several tantrums allowed Little to extend the lead with two successful shies at goal, but Dupuy also managed to eke out two penalties of his own to leave the half-time scored poised at 21-12 in favour of the locals.

A big comeback performance was needed from Stade Franšais, but Parisian efforts to engineer an escape where dealt a blow early in the second half when Pascal Pape was sin-binned for kicking the ball out of Michael Claassens's mitts.

The numerical handicap wasn't to last the full ten minutes, however. Banahan soon joined Pape on the sidelines for a high tackle on Mirco Bergamasco. Dupuy, no stranger to these parts, stepped up to bring his new side within a converted try of their hosts with 25 minutes to play.

A war of attrition followed, with nerves getting the better of both sides as the clock ticked down.

Penalties were exchanged either side of the 70-minute mark and it looked like Bath might keep their noses in front.

Alas, it was not to be.

From a deep and innocuous position, the French worked the ball wide and Phillips stood up Nick Abendanon before rounding him to dot down.

Dupuy was unable to add the extras and it looked like Bath might get away with it.

But a shrill blast from George Clancy's whistle alerted the crowd to one final Bath misdemeanour at the breakdown, and Dupuy called for his tee.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Tries: Little, Carraro
Con: Little
Pens: Little 5

For Stade Franšais:
Try: Phillips
Pens: Dupuy 7
Drop: Beauxis

Yellow card(s): Pape (Stade Franšais) - playing the ball on the ground, 44; Banahan (Bath) - high tackle, 53.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Nicky Little, 9 Michael Claassens (c), 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jonny Fa'amatuainu, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 David Barnes, 18 David Wilson, 19 Peter Short, 20 Chris Cracknell, 21 Scott Bemand, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Stade Franšais: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Geoffroy Messina, 11 Mark Gasnier, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Pierre Rabadan, 6 James Haskell, 5 Pascal Pape, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 David Attoub, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Rodrigo Roncero (c).
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Damien Weber, 18 Rayno Gerber, 19 Arnaud Marchois, 20 Mathieu Blin, 21 Noel Oelschig, 22 Mirco Bergamasco, 23 Ollie Phillips.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Michael Black (Ireland)
Television match official: John Sheehan (Ireland)
Assessor: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615