Rugby Union: Llanelli receive a French lesson

Stade Francais 49 Llanelli 3
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The Independent Online
LLANELLI WERE blown away by six tries in the second half and must now rely upon winning away at Leinster to have a realistic chance of making the European Cup knock-out stages.

The Welsh record in France continues to be abysmal. No wins in three previous seasons of European Cup visits, nor for that matter any by the national side since 1975.

Yet Llanelli, who travelled over via Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel, had only themselves to blame for there being no light at the end of the tunnel. The Scarlets had much the better of the first half but when push came to shove at ruck, scrum or line-out they were neither cute nor clever enough to reward their many forays into the Stade Francais 22.

A single penalty goal from Stephen Jones in four attempts by the outside- half was all Llanelli had to show for their efforts.

Crucially, their hosts were far more ruthless in turning their few first- half raids into points. The French champions were making something of a missionary effort by taking this match north to Lille from their Parisian home. It took a while but, prompted by the silken skills of Diego Dominguez they eventually delighted the locals. Two penalty goals by Dominguez and a try in first-half injury time by the second row David Auradou were but a prelude.

Stade Francais rattled up five tries in 20 explosive second-half minutes, with close- quarter strength rather than any flamboyance out wide as the key note.

Winger Thomas Lombard got the first on the blind-side of a scrum, then the loose-head prop Sylvain Marconnet, tipped to take over from the injured Christian Califano in the France front row against Argentina next month, was mauled over from a line-out .

Referee Iain Ramage brandished yellow cards at Phil Booth, Robin McBryde and Chris Wyatt as the Scarlets' frustration showed. The tries kept coming, with only two missed conversions by Dominguez keeping the score below the half century. At the end of the 80 minutes the public address belted out the French club's theme song "I Will Survive". Llanelli did not.

Stade Francais: S Viars; T Lombard, R Dourthe, C Mytton, E Bolobolo; D Dominguez, L Lousteau; S Marconnet, V Moscato (G Pedrosa 68), P de Villiers (P Gimbert 50), D Auradou (H Chaffardon 50), D George, M Lievremont (R Pool-Jones 60), C Moni, C Juillet (S Keith 68).

Llanelli: D Williams; W Proctor, N Boobyer, N Davies, D Rogers; S Jones, R Moon; P Booth, R McBryde (capt), M Madden, V Cooper, M Voyle, D Hodges, I Boobyer, C Wyatt.

Referee: I Ramage (Scotland)