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
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058