Dupuy puts boot into Bath's European hopes

Bath 27 Stade Francais 29

Bath thought they had poured five-star on the smouldering embers of their Heineken Cup campaign, but Julien Dupuy extinguished the flames completely with seven penalties.

It was Dupuy who wrecked Bath's European dream last season, and the Stade Français scrum-half was ruthless with the boot, punishing a succession of stupid penalties, the last struck with ice-cool nerve in the dying seconds to secure victory. Bath led 21-9 one minute from half-time but frittered it all away. And it was Englishman Ollie Phillips who demolished the last strands of Bath confidence with a super breakaway try four minutes from time to pull Stade within a point.

Phillips admitted: "I should have taken the ball further around behind the posts to make the conversion less difficult for Julien. He missed, but fortunately landed the last-minute penalty to secure victory. I'll take a lot of flak and in two languages because I share a flat in Paris with James Haskell."

That's two defeats from two in Pool Four, leaving Bath rock bottom of the group. Stade made their intentions clear from the start, pressing Bath into errors and taking a sixth-minute lead with an outrageous 50-yard drop goal by fly-half Lionel Beauxis.

Bath reacted as if slapped in the face by a glove. David Flatman sparked a succession of thwarted attacks with a raging barge which required three defenders to halt it before Nicky Little hauled them level with a penalty.

Stade regained the edge with a Dupuy goal, but were rocked backwards when Little applied the finishing flourish to a sweeping attack that involved Michael Claassens, Jonny Fa'amatuainu and a clever take, break and offload by Shontayne Hape.

Before Stade could regroup, Bath struck again, and it was the increasingly influential Matt Banahan who rifled out a splendid flat pass to Matt Carraro on the right wing.

The big Australian centre smashed through the cover, most notably Hugo Southwell, before being grounded inches from the line. But if down, Carraro wasn't out. He stretched his right arm immediately, and placed the ball over the goalline, Little converting.

Dupuy and Little exchanged penalties, but the eyes of a capacity crowd were repeatedly drawn to the tall figure of Banahan, whose threatening ball-carrying sent alarm bells jangling throughout the Stade defence.

Panic led to penalties, and another was punished by Little. Yet Stade kept their heads. Dupuy kicked his third goal a minute before half-time, reward for a period of renewed attack, and switched ends very much in touch.

The pattern continued after the break, Little and Dupuy exchanging goals again. Referee Clancy blundered when he gave Banahan a yellow card in the 53rd minute for a big but perfectly legitimate tackle on Mirco Bergamasco. It was all the more galling for Bath when Dupuy rammed over the resultant penalty.

The jitters became the shakes as the France scrum-half arrowed over his sixth penalty. But when England flanker Haskell conceded a daft one in front of his posts, Little took the three points before Stade's grand finale.

Bath head coach Steve Meehan refused to criticise his players despite their latest failure to build on a strong lead. "The team gave it their all," he said. "Our problem is not controlling possession or making the correct decisions when things tighten up. We had possession with three minutes to go and needed to take the right decisions that would allow us to see the game out. It's something we will learn."

Bath: Tries Little, Carraro; Conversions Little; Penalties Little 5. Stade Francais: Try Phillips; Penalties Dupuy 7; Drop goal Beauxis.

Bath: N Abendanon; J Maddock, M Carraro, S Hape, M Banahan; N Little, M Claassens (capt); D Flatman, P Dixon (R Hawkins, 61), D Bell (D Wilson, 61), S Hooper, D Grewcock, J Faamatuainu (C Cracknell, 70), J Salvi, B Skirving.

Stade Francais: H Southwell; J Arias (O Phillips, 51), G Bousses, G Messina (Mi Bergamasco, 31), M Gasnier; L Beauxis, J Dupuy; R Roncero (capt), D Szarzewski, D Attoub, T Palmer, P Pape, J Haskell, P Rabadan (B Kayser, 24), S Parisse.

Referee: G Clancy (Ireland).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'