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Tigers make winning start in Europe

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Leicester Tigers made a perfect start to their European campaign with a 33-20 bonus-point win over Stade Francais that sent the Top 14 champions home with no match points.

Tigers scored two tries in each half to secure the full five match points in their opening Champions Cup game at Welford Road on Friday night.
 
Tigers had trailed 8-0 in the first-half but 20 unanswered points either side of half-time set them on the way to victory.
 
Vereniki Goneva made the most of Brendon O’Connor’s expert turnover to score Tigers’ first try of their Champions Cup campaign which was quickly followed by Matt Smith’s neat finish.
 
O’Connor raced half the length of the pitch for a debut score early in the second period before Ben Youngs’s opportunist try brought the bonus point.
 
O’Connor was making his first appearance following his move to Tigers. There was a late change alongside him in the back row with Tom Croft withdrawing. Mike Williams slotted in at blindside, Dom Barrow made his Champions Cup debut in the second row and club captain Ed Slater came onto the bench.
 
Marcos Ayerza and Ben Youngs made their first Welford Road appearance of the season after their World Cup commitments. Leonardo Ghiraldini was named in a matchday squad for the first time this season. He was joined on the bench by fellow Italy international Matias Aguero, who was added to the squad as front-row cover in the absence of Michele Rizzo and Logovi'i Mulipola.
 
Julien Dupuy, the popular former Tigers scrum-half, made his first return to the club since his move to Stade in 2009.
 
The match began at a hectic pace with Tigers runners hitting the line from deep and Stade looking to kick long in the early exchanges.
 
Owen Williams had Welford Road in full voice with a jinking run that took him to within eight metres of the line. Tigers maintained their composure and possession through a series of phases and created the chance for Peter Betham to angle a run to the line. However, the score was ruled out for an obstruction by Ayerza on Morne Steyn in the build-up.

Dupuy’s return lasted 15 minutes before the France international went down with an injury following a tackle by Tom Youngs. He was replaced by Julien Tomas.

There were a lot of handling errors from both sides in the first quarter. Indeed, a slip by Owen Williams on the Stade 22 brought to an end a promising position after Tigers had stolen possession at a lineout.
 
Instead it was Stade who took the lead with a brilliantly worked try after some slick handling down their right. Full-back Tait made a superb last-ditch tackle on opposite number Hugo Bonneval but was powerless to prevent Tomas following up to score at the corner.
 
Tigers were full of pace and invention but were unable to capitalise on some promising positions due to innaccuracy. Matt Smith’s 30m run set up another attack but the momentum was lost when Ayerza spilled possession under a heavy tackle with options on his outside.
 
Tigers were made to pay for another obstruction when Steyn, who missed the earlier conversion, landed a penalty from inside his own half to extend the visitors’ lead to 8-0.
 
An expert turnover by O’Connor set Tigers on a counter-attack from 40m out. McCaffrey and Goneva isolated Julien Arias on the wing and the Fiji international twisted and turned his man before dotting down at the corner. Williams arrowed his kick over to leave Tigers 8-7 behind 34 minutes.
 
Another turnover, this time at a lineout, had Tigers back in full flow with Betham and Goneva making huge inroads. However, referee John Lacey failed to spot an off-the-ball push on McCaffrey as he attempted to keep the attack alive and instead blew for a knock-on.
 
Tigers continued to create space and opportunities and were now being more accurate in their play. And they made it count on the stroke of half-time with a slick backs move that allowed Betham and Goneva to combine again, this time to send Smith over at the left corner. It gave Tigers a 12-8 lead at the break.
 
Tigers made a stunning start to the second-half when O’Connor pounced on loose ball on halfway and raced the length of the Stade half to score at the right-hand corner. Williams was agonisingly wide with his touchline conversion as Tigers led 17-8.
 
Stade thought they had struck back immediately when Jeremy Sinzelle crossed from an interception but play was pulled back for an earlier knock-on.
 
Instead, Stade went offside in defence to give Williams a simple kick to extend Leicester’s lead to 20-8. It was Tigers’ 20th unanswered point in the space of 15 minutes either side of the break.

Stade responded in superb fashion, keeping the ball alive with some wonderful handling. Captain Sergio Parisse’s back of the hand pass to Sylvain Nicolas opened the Leicester defence and Paul Williams crossed for the try. Steyn’s conversion cut the lead to 20-15.
 
But quick-thinking by Ben Youngs had Tigers back on the front foot and claiming their bonus-point try. The England international tapped a penalty 18m out and had the pace and strength to hold off three tackles and score. Williams added the extras to give Tigers a 27-15 lead.
 
Tigers rang the changes going into the final quarter, with Slater and Ghiraldini making their return from injury and Ben Youngs replaced by Sam Harrison. O’Connor came off to a standing ovation when he was replaced by Jordan Crane.
 
Williams, who had kicked to the corner with two earlier penalties, opted for the posts when Stade infringed at a ruck to extend Leicester’s lead to 30-15 with eight minutes left.
 
Stade grabbed a lifeline with four minutes remaining when Arias dived in at the right-hand corner despite the last-ditch tackle of Owen Williams. Steyn was wide with his kick as Tigers held a 10-point lead.
 
Seremaia Bai, who had replaced Owen Williams for the closing moments, ensured Stade returned to Paris empty-handed with a penalty with the final kick of the game to set the seal on a well-earned victory.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 12-8 STA

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 33-20 STA

Attendance

20,286

Referee

John Lacey

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Stade Francais
Possession
63%
37%
Territory
73%
27%
Penalties Conceded
9
9
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
82/100 82%
146/172 85%
Scrums Won
8/8 100%
4/4 100%
Lineouts Won
9/9 0%
9/9 0%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Stade Francais
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15
14
13Peter Betham
121T
111T
102C2P
9Ben Youngs1T
1Marcos Ayerza
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4
5
6Mike Williams
71T
8Lachlan McCaffrey
16
17Matias Aguero
18Fraser Balmain
19Ed Slater
20
21
22Seremaia Bai1P
23Telusa Veainu
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
33

Full Time

Stade Francais
Stade Francais
20

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

Peter Betham
13
Peter Betham
11
10
Marcos Ayerza
1
Marcos Ayerza
4
Lachlan McCaffrey
8
Lachlan McCaffrey

Subs

16
Matias Aguero
17
Matias Aguero
Fraser Balmain
18
Fraser Balmain
Ed Slater
19
Ed Slater
20
Seremaia Bai
22
Seremaia Bai

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Hugo Bonneval
14
13
Paul Williams
12
Meyer Bosman
11
Jérémy Sinzelle
10
9
Julien Dupuy
1
Sakaria Taulafo
2
Laurent Panis
3
Adrien Oleon
4
Paul Gabrillagues
5
Pascal Papé
6
Patrick Sio
7
Sylvain Nicolas
8
Sergio Parisse

Subs

16
Dany Priso
17
Zurab Zhvania
18
Rabah Slimani
19
Alexandre Flanquart
20
Jono Ross
21
22
Waisea Nayacalevu
23
Josaia Raisuqe
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
1
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI6501185919424113023
2
Stade Francais
Stade FrancaisSTA64021861186825173019
Form Guide
Form
DWDDD
Last Match
Draw with Brive null-null
Past Meeting
Won 41-13
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LLLDD
Last Match
Draw with Benetton Rugby null-null
Past Meeting
Lost 13-41

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers33
Leicester Tigers
Stade Francais20
Stade Francais
Full Time