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
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Waratahs vs Brumbies19:40
Crusaders vs Sharks19:35
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
South Africa 31 - 30 WalesSouth Africa vs Wales Report
New Zealand 36 - 13 EnglandNew Zealand vs England Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00