European Cup: Stade Français, winner of Connacht, sends Toulouse to the round of 16 and still hopes to qualify
In a Jean-Bouin stadium still subject to the gauges where the meager public warmed up at the end of the match thanks to a suspense pushed to its height, the Stade Français imposed itself on the wire against the Irish province of Connacht (37 -31). Despite more than a half-time outnumbered, the Parisian club snatches a victory which allows it to hope to qualify for the eighth, if the Wasps lose without bonus at Munster (4:15 p.m.). In turn, this result allows the reigning European champion, Toulouse, to be qualified for the round of 16.
What you must remember
During this last day of the group stage of a European Cup without tail or head, the Parisians had the merit of playing upright. Despite their weaknesses, they were not disunited when they quickly conceded a try from Irish winger Alex Wootton (7th). Put back in the saddle by a number from Adrien Lapègue on his left wing (10-7, 20th) just after a successful success by Nicolas Sanchez (17th), the players of Gonzalo Quesada did not seek to embark on an unbridled game and risky to try to win the offensive bonus, their only hope of qualification.
And, without a bad gesture from hooker Tolu Latu in a regrouping (yellow card, 35th) on an action concluded by a try from Léo Barré – therefore canceled -, they could have believed in their star. But three minutes later, the Irish take advantage of their numerical superiority to score with their scrum half Blade and turn in front at the break (10-17).
When they return from the locker room, the Parisians play their game. Former All Blacks center Ngani Laumape took the opportunity to score his first try of the season, at the conclusion of an action from seventy meters (15-17, 42nd). It was then that hooker Tolu Latu once again rocked the match. Barely returned from his yellow card, he protests on a penalty whistled by the English referee Wayne Barnes. Result: a second yellow card which immediately turns into red (47th) and in the wake of a try from center Tom Farrell (15-24, 48th). The Stade Français does not give up and reacts by propelling its back Kylan Hamdaoui into the in-goal (20-24, 52nd).
The third center line of Connacht Jarrad Butler, at the start and at the conclusion of a beautiful movement in the axis, seems to take on the Parisians for good (20-31, 61st) but the test of Ryan Chapuis offers them the bonus offensive and gives them hope (27-31, 68th). The suspense is at its maximum especially as Lapègue, on a new slalom five minutes from the end, offers the victory to his team (34-31). The penalty from Joris Segonds maintains the hope of qualification.
Very toned, the young winger (23) trained in Bayonne not only scored two tries that owe nothing to anyone. He was constantly dangerous on the balls he touched and valuable in defense where he displayed great activity. His first try, which revived his club’s hopes for qualification, proved to him the extent of his potential. On a pass from his scrum half, William Percillier, at the limit of the 22-meter line, Adrien Lapègue sinks, navigates, and resists four tackles to flatten in a corner (20th). Rebelote on the second (75th) after a slalom between three defenders this time.
The last victory of Stade Français in the Champions Cup dates back to January 24, 2016. Six years ago, the Parisians had dominated the English of Leicester (36-21) at the Jean-Bouin stadium and they had qualified for the quarters of final where they were eliminated by … Leicester (41-13).