Dream start for triumphant Paris

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The Independent Online
DAVE HADFIELD

Paris St-Germain 30 Sheffield Eagles 24

Paris created the first shock of the new when their winger Arnaud Cervello scored two late tries to clinch a unlikely victory over one of the form teams of the last winter season.

The European Super League began with a few more gaps in the impressive Stade Charlety that Paris had predicted, but still with a crowd that would have been considered incredible for a game in the capital not long ago.

Eight minutes into the first summer season, the game's new video replay facility was used for the first time, Frederic Banquet being denied a try when tackled into the corner flag.

Less than two minutes later, however, the former Sheffield player succeeded in becoming Super League's inaugural try scorer, pouncing on a loose ball and this time touching in the opposite corner. That lead survived more playback scrutiny when Lynton Stott had a try disallowed.

On 27 minutes, though, Sheffield made their breakthrough, Dean Lawford working a textbook runaround move with Ryan Sheridan and spotting a gap.

Matt Crowther's conversion gave the Eagles the lead and Andy Hay soon improved the position further, taking Lawford's short pass to charge over.

Paris equalised in first half injury time Mikhail Piscunov winning the race to Entat's excellent kick at Patrick Torreilles adding the goal.

The huge New Zealander, Darren Adams, went straight through Waisale Sovatabua's tackle for the try that put Paris back into the lead early in the second half.

That prompted Sheffield to bring two of their most experienced players off the bench, Mark Aston and Anthony Farrell immediately combining to set up Crowther for the try that put the scores level again. Aston worked the oracle again three minutes later, his pass hitting Carr at full pace and no Parisian ever looking like stopping him.

Some admirable close support and handling ending with Gregory Kacala sending in Pierre Chamorin, Torreilles' goal swinging them back into the lead when Cervello picked up the ball from Hay's knock-on to go 90 yards and score.

Cervello's second five minutes later put Paris firmly in control with a party atmosphere breaking out among a crowd now confirmed, at 17,873, as the biggest for a rugby league match in France for 38 years.

Torreilles put over a penalty and even though Senior crossed for the Eagles in the last minute there was denying Paris their glory.

Paris St-Germain: Lucchese; Piscunov, Banquet (Turner, 30), Chamorin, Cervello; Brown Devecchi, 70), Entat; Kacala (Pastre-Courtine, 59), Torreilles, Sands, Adams (Bloomfield, 57), Cabestany, Pech.

Sheffield Eagles: Sovatavua; Dakuitoga (Senior, 8), Stott, Garcia, Crowther; Sheridan, Lawford (Aston, 49); Broadbent, Lawless, McAllister (Farrell, 49), Hay, Carr, Cook (Laughton, 73).

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).

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