Planet Rugby

Stade sink gutsy Bath

16th January 2010 12:43

Share:

Julien Arias score against Bath

Adding to his tally: Julian Arias

Stade Franšais returned to the top of Pool 4 on Saturday thanks to a 15-13 win over Bath at Stade Jean Bouin.

Steve Meehan's side went into the Paris fixture knowing that only a win would do if they were to keep their slim Heineken Cup hopes alive.

And in cold and wet conditions they came close to fully capitalising on some charitable moments from the hosts, not least when full-back Lionel Beauxis handed them a try he will never forget.

Just three minutes before half-time, the French international chose not to catch a ball coming out from the back of a ruck and instead attempted to volley it downfield. It was a decision he would immediately regret as Michael Claassens duly pounced to pull Bath back from the brink.

That moment of madness best summed up the kamikaze nature of Stade at times and they will need to seriously up their game when their expected passage into the last eight arrives.

Paris had begun the game in their usual drop-oriented approach as Juan Leguizamon and then Ignacio Mieres had wayward shots.

Those attempts kept Bath on the back foot against the French runners but almost scored a breakaway try from their own 22 when Michael Stephenson - in a rare chance to prove his worth due to Nick Abendanon's injury - hacked and ran down the right to within ten metres.

In the end Mirco Bergamasco won the foot-race to save his side before interim full-back Joe Maddock went through a highly eventful five minutes of play that included two lows and one low. First the New Zealander dropped a high ball in the wet before later fumbling a grubber in behind the first line of defence, leading to his team-mates being offside and Beauxis opening matters.

However, Maddock demonstrated good character to respond with an excellent stepping run that moved Bath downfield and allowed Nicky Little to level the scores on 20 minutes.

Former England lock then Danny Grewcock riled the crowd - and a number of Stade players too - with a late hit on Arias that somehow went unpunished as the game continued to be a battle of attrition on a muddy pitch.

The Stade winger recovered to deal Bath a further blow by scoring his second try of the match, in the 34th minute, finishing off a free-flowing move on the right that involved James Haskell, Hugo Southwell and Dimitri Szarzewski.

But the visitors went into the break only five points behind thanks to that laughable play by Beauxis.

Fiji's most-capped fly-half then landed a 42nd-minute penalty as Bath closed to within two points at 15-13, which was how it stayed.

The pitch, especially its middle section, had cut up quite substantially by that stage so both sides' backs saw little of the ball out wide.

Stade were still dominating possession but Bath's close-quarter defence was strong, frustrating the home crowd, who became even more incensed when Beauxis missed a simple penalty attempt on the hour mark.

Little, who kicked all three of his shots at goal but less than impressive in other facets of his game, was replaced with eighteen minutes left as Ryan Davis came on in a late bid to prolong Bath's European adventure.

But there was not a try-scoring opportunity worthy of the name as Stade held out comfortably to go four points clear of Ulster at the top of the Pool. They just need to avoid defeat at Edinburgh next week to progress.

The scorers:

For Stade Franšais:
Tries: Arias 2
Con: Beauxis
Pen: Beauxis

For Bath:
Tries: Claassens
Con: Little
Pen:Little 2

Stade Franšais: 15 Lionel Beauxis, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffroy Messina, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Hugo Southwell, 8 Juan Leguizamon, 7 Pierre Rabadan, 6 James Haskell, 5 Pascal Pape, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Sylvain Marconnet, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Pedro Ledesma, 19 Pierre Vigouroux, 20 Antoine Burban, 21 Aristide Barraud, 22 Guillaume Bousses, 23 Mark Gasnier.

Bath: 15 Joe Maddock, 14 Michael Stephenson, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Nicky Little, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Jules Salvi, 6 Andrew Beattie, 5 Peter Short, 4 Danny Grewcock, 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 David Barnes, 18 Duncan Bell, 19 Stuart Hooper, 20 Ben Skirving, 21 Scott Bemand, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Colin Stanley (Ireland), Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province Kings
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00