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banner Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 18:18 GMT 19:18 UK
Stade put Ulster to the sword
Paddy wallace
Paddy Wallace tries to break through the Stade defence
Stade Francais 40-11 Ulster

Ulster succumbed to a powerful Stade Francais in Paris on Saturday.

A dynamic first half performance by the Stade pack led to last year's beaten finalists taking an outright lead in Pool 2.

Ulster's eight were minimised by a rugged forward unit who were vastly superior in the tight pieces and their strength in the loose cut swathes through the visitor's defence.

Stade took control from early on and never released their vice-like grip on a side whose chances were diminished by the loss of Irish fly-half David Humphreys before kick-off.

Personal battle

Still suffering from an ankle injury suffered against England last week, Humphreys's control was missed, but his presence may not have made that much of a difference.

Paddy Wallace was drafted into the number 10 jersey and he did extremely well in his personal battle with Stade's orchestrator Diego Dominguez.

It was the Italian kicking wizard who got Stade off to the best possible start with a brace of penalties in the opening 12 minutes.

Stade were completely in control in the opening period with backs and forwards combining to stretch the Ulster defence.

Ulster winger Tyrone Howe saved a certain try when he chased back to deny debutant Sylvain Jonnet getting on the end of a brilliant kick and run.

Shane Stewart
Stewart stretchered off with knee injury

Ulster finally shrugged off the rearguard action as their backs and forwards combined to take them deep into Stade territory.

It took a lovely grubber kick from Wallace to finally breach the defence with number 8 Tony McWhirter racing in to dot down at the corner flag.

However, seven minutes later, Stade scored their opening try when prop Sylvain Marconnet drove over from a line-out with Dominguez converting.

That was only the start of Ulster's problems as Stade scored again in the 28th minute.

Ulster's scrum that had creaked most of the afternoon, could not contain the French eight.

Stade took advantage when number 8 Christophe Juillet broke and gave a simple scoring pass to scrum-half Fabien Galthie at the posts.

Wallace settled Ulster a little with a penalty in the 31st minute, but two minutes later Stade scored their third try.

It was conceived by Christophe Dominici who sprinted clear around a ruck to provide Jonnet with a try at the posts.

Mark Blair
Ulster's Blair (l) wins line-out against Stade

Wallace rifled over his second penalty five minutes from the break, but a nervous-looking Ulster had been well trounced in that first period.

Stade were reasonably dormant on the restart as Ulster began to secure more possession.

However, it was Dominguez who got the scoreboard rolling along again with a brace of penalties in the 55th and 59th minutes.

Ulster, hampered by injuries to midfield pair Shane Stewart and Jonathan Bell, did well to hold Stade until well into injury time when they leaked a fourth try.

A tiring Ulster side left space for Franck Comba to sprint through a gap and present Dominici with the try which replacement Julien Berthe converted.

Stade Francias: Tries: Marconnet, Galthie, Jonnet, Dominici; Cons: Dominguez (3), Berthe; Pens: Dominguez (4).

Ulster: Try: McWhirter; Pens: Wallace (2).

Att: 12,000.

Stade Francais: Sylvain Jonnet, Christophe Dominici, Franck Comba, David Venditti, Arthur Gomes, Diego Dominguez, Fabien Galthie, Sylvain Marconnet, Mathieu Blin, Pieter de Villiers, David Auradou, Mike James, Patrick Tabacco, Richard Pool-Jones, Christophe Juillet, capt.
Replacements: Benoit August for Blin (68), Laurent Emmanuelli for de Villiers (68), Remy Martin for Juillet (68), Pierre Rabadan for Pool-Jones (66), Nicolas Raffault for Gomes (66), Julien Berthe for Dominguez (79), Marc Lajus for Galthie (79).

Ulster: Bryn Cunningham; James Topping; Jonathan Bell, Shane Stewart, Tyrone Howe; Paddy Wallace, Neil Doak; Justin Fitzpatrick, Paul Shields, Simon Best, Paddy Johns, Mark Blair, Tony McWhirter, Andy Ward, capt, Russell Nelson.
Replacements: Clem Boyd for Fitzpatrick (69), Gary Longwell for Johns (55) Neill McMillan for McWhirter (69), Brad Free for Doak (66), Adam Larkin for Bell (54), Sheldon Coulter for Stewart (73).

Referee: Steve Lander (RFU).

Ulster coach Alan Solomons
"We always new it would be difficult"
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