Leicester Tigers made it two from two in the Investec Champions Cup with a hard-fought, three-point (24-27) victory over Stade Francais in Paris at Stade Jean Bouin.
Archie Vanes, in his first Champions Cup start, crossed for a hat-trick in less than an hour to continue the 22-year-old’s impressive scoring rate in senior rugby, while Jamie Shillcock was on target from the tee to contribute 12 points.
In an entertaining encounter, which included the lead changing hands on five occasions, a Tigers side that included more than a dozen changes from Round 1 held on under huge pressure from the home side in the dying stages to record the away victory.
After a physical opening period in Paris, Tigers were the first to strike when Vanes got across the chalk for his first at the back of a dominant driving maul from the Leicester pack.
Jamie Shillcock converted to make it 0-7 after nine minutes.
Both teams traded blows approaching the end of the first quarter in Paris before pressure paid off for the home side when they got over through Mathieu Hirigoyen.
The Tigers, who were penalised on three successive occasions at scrum-time on their own line, were on the backfoot when the Stade back-rower dived over and Joris Segonds converts to level it at 7-7.
Only minutes later and, again, discipline hurt the visitors when Charlie Atkinson was shown a yellow card when the TMO intervened on an attempted charge down from the full-back and it was deemed as reckless.
Despite holding on during the period with 14 men, Leicester gave Stade a chance to take the lead approaching the break and Segonds took the opportunity from the tee to see his side lead 10-7.
However, six minutes into extra-time before the break, Tigers opted to kick for the corner following a Stade infringement and Vanes had his second from the back of the pack again.
Shillcock’s second conversion meant the visitors took a four-point, 10-14, lead into the changing rooms.
The home side flew out of the block in the second half when they crossed just 90 seconds after arriving back on to the pitch.
It was Charles Laloi who got across, down the right hand touchline, after a break from the back of the set piece gave the hosts numbers in attack and had Leicester’s defenders backtracking.
Segonds was on target from the tee to take his side to a three-point, 17-14, lead.
The match began to open up in the French capital before, just shy of the hour mark, Vanes went over for his hat-trick on the back of several, patient phases from Tigers on their hosts line.
Shillcock was again on target from the tee to see Leicester back in the lead, 17-21, before the fly-half extend it to seven points just minutes later with a penalty-goal making it 17-24.
In control, Tigers began to play the territory game before – against the run of play – the home side went coast to coast to level it up in the 63rd minute.
The man of the moment was Stade full-back Leo Barre, who chipped, chased and regathered from inside his own half before putting on the afterburners to slice through the Leicester defence.
Segonds converted successfully to level it up before, approaching the 70th minute, Shillcock landed another from the tee to take Tigers ahead by three, 24-27, where it would remain despite the visitor's going down to 14 men in the dying stages when Mike Brown was shown a yellow card.
Thankfully, his teammates held on and - with the clock in the red - Harry Wells came up with a turnover for the ages to win back possession, a penalty and victory.
Leicester travel to Exeter in their return to Gallagher Premiership action next weekend before hosting Bath Rugby on New Year's Eve in the first of back-to-back games at Mattioli Woods Welford Road ahead of a January 6 Double Header against London when the men's side take on Saracens and women's squad host Harlequins. Get your Tickets HERE.