Bath 20 Stade Francais 36 match report: Bath hit hard by the superior – but unsavoury – Stade

view gallery VIEW GALLERY


the recreation ground

Whatever befalls England's representatives in the Heineken Cup, the three English clubs in the Amlin Challenge Cup have endured a woeful weekend. Despite home advantage, Gloucester, London Wasps and, yesterday, Bath have been outclassed.

So poor were Bath, Stade Francais could play a quarter of the game with only 14 men yet emerge smelling of roses. The unsavoury spat between the two scrum-halves, Peter Stringer and Jérôme Fillol, when replays suggested the Frenchman spat in his opponent's face and may warrant a disciplinary charge, should not detract from the quality of the Parisian club. However, Stringer had harsh words for Fillol. "There is no place in the game for it," said the former Ireland scrum-half. "That's as low as you can probably go."

Stade now play Perpignan in the semi-final at the Stade Aimé Giral on 26 April while the beaten English trio can only look forward to an internal squabble over the last three weekends of the Aviva Premiership to determine which of them qualifies for next season's Heineken Cup by achieving a top-six placing.

On yesterday's evidence, even Bath's most rabid fan would not argue the club is worthy of an elite European place. Their midfield resources have been destroyed by injury and unavailability and there is a feeling among the Bath faithful that the sooner Stephen Donald, the New Zealand fly-half, leaves for Japan, the better. He overhit two touch finders after a bright start, conceded a penalty in his own 22 to give Stade three points, then gave away an interception try to Waisea Vuidravuwalu.

Not that the French club needed that much help. Vuidravuwalu, the Fijian wing, enjoyed a simple run-in for his first try after Bath were turned over, and was never going to be caught on a 60-metre dash for his second after Geoffrey Doumayrou picked up Donald's errant pass. Since his languid stride also started the move which led to the first of Hugo Bonneval's tries, both scored within the space of two minutes, it could be said that there was a distinct South Seas flavour to Stade's play. "They scored three tries off turnovers. You like to feel you can look after the ball and we didn't do that well enough," Toby Booth, Bath's coach, said. "But I've watched every game this week and it's the physicality the other sides have brought that's made a difference. Stade were enormous and we have to learn to live in that world. The bottom line is that we just weren't good enough."

Bath had the better of the line-out and the penalty count but could construct nothing. Everything they tried turned to dust while everything Stade attempted turned to gold.

Ollie Devoto was short with a 50m penalty; Jules Plisson nudged one over from 46m. Nearly the last act of the game saw Tom Heathcote hit a conversion attempt against both uprights yet still the ball stayed the wrong side; a minute later Jérôme Porical's penalty bounced through off the crossbar.

Only once did Bath look as though they might turn the game into a contest, when they surged towards the Stade line and received a penalty try when Scott Lavalla was judged to have pulled down the maul. Lavalla left for the sin-bin (following in the first-half stud marks of Rabah Slimani for a dangerous tackle on Nick Abendanon) and Donald's conversion brought the scores to 20-10.

But Stade had already shown how dangerous they were when attacking from long distance and Bonneval's second try capped a flowing 60-metre move. Michael Claassens burrowed over from a line-out, only to watch as Plisson casually kicked a 51-metre drop goal, and though Eastmond sent Jack Cuthbert to the corner, it was all too late.

Bath O Devoto; N Abendanon (J Cuthbert, 49), H Agulla, K Eastmond, T Biggs; S Donald (T Heathcote, 59), P Stringer (M Claassens, 59); P James (N Catt, 54), R Webber (R Batty, 54), D Wilson (A Perenise, 54), S Hooper (captain), D Day (W Spencer, 65), S Taylor (N Koster, 47), B Skirving, F Louw.

Stade Francais H Bonneval; W Vuidravuwalu, G Doumayrou, P Williams, J Sinzelle (J Arias, 49); J Plisson (J Porical, 74), J Fillol (P Warwick, 54); S Wright (Z Zhvania, 73), A de Malmanche (R Bonfils, 66), R Slimani (sin bin 35-45; J Becasseau, 76), S Lavalla (sin-bin 47-57; A van Zyl, 65), G Mostert, P Rabadan (Bonfils, 40-45; A Burban, 59), S Parisse, D Lyons.

Referee N Owens (Wales).


Tries: Penalty try, Claassens, Cuthbert

Con: Donald

Pen: Donald

Stade Francais

Tries: Vuidravuwalu 2, Bonneval 2

Cons: Fillol 2

Pens: Plisson, Fillol, Porical

Drop goal: Plisson

Suggested Topics
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower