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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Sunday, 18 October 2009 16:53 UK

Bath 27-29 Stade Francais

Bath (21) 27
Tries: Little, Carraro Con: Little Pens: Little 5
Stade Francais (12) 29
Try: Phillips Pens: Dupuy 7 Drop: Beauxis

Julien Dupuy celebrates his last-minute penalty
Dupuy kicked seven penalties to help Stade to a narrow victory

By Peter Scrivener

Julien Dupuy's last-minute penalty all but ended Bath's Heineken Cup hopes as Stade Francais inflicted a second pool four defeat on the West Country club.

Nicky Little and Matt Carraro powered over for tries in quick succession to put Bath in command at the interval.

Little kicked five penalties, but Dupuy slotted six to keep Stade in touch.

Ollie Phillips raced clear to bring the visitors within a point but Dupuy's missed conversion looked costly for Stade until his seventh penalty won it.

The manner of Stade's victory stunned Bath who had been unbeaten in their 12 previous European games at the Recreation Ground.

And Bath, who lost 26-12 at Ulster last week, will know that no team has ever gone on to qualify from the pool stages after losing both their opening games.

They had led for the majority of the game after Lionel Beauxis' huge drop goal for Stade had been cancelled out by Little's opening try.


A powerful charge upfield by the impressive Matt Banahan helped set the platform for Little to orchestrate the try, which the fly-half finished off from close range after Shontayne Hape had punctured the Stade defence.

And five minutes later Banahan's threat, which drew the attentions of three Stade backs, allowed the winger to find Carraro in space with a simple pass and the Australian galloped over Hugo Southwell to put Bath 13-6 up.

Little converted Carraro's try and kicked three first-half penalties, but Dupuy slotted three penalties of his own to keep Stade within nine points at the interval.

The second half was in complete contrast to the open nature of the first 40 minutes.

Pascal Pape was sin-binned for kicking the ball out of Bath skipper Michael Claassens' hands, but the home side could not make their numerical advantage count.

Bath were then forced to close ranks themselves after Banahan was sent for 10 minutes in the sin-bin for clattering into Mirco Bergamasco, but the visitors only improved their tally by a couple of Dupuy penalties by midway through the half.

Little responded with two penalties of his own to keep Bath six points clear, but exquisite handling by Southwell put Phillips clear down the left with time running out and he outsprinted Nick Abendanon in the race for the corner to pull Stade within a point.

The normally reliable Dupuy pushed his conversion though and it looked as though the home side would hold on for a crucial victory until the Stade scrum-half was given one final opportunity from just inside the Bath half.

It is the second successive season that Dupuy has ruined Bath's Heineken Cup hopes. In April, the Frenchman scored a late try for Leicester in their 20-15 quarter-final victory.

Bath coach Steve Meehan:

"We are going to have to play very well in our remaining four games and hope other results go our way.

"I won't be too hard on the players. It is obviously very disappointing for all of the guys.

"Unfortunately, we were penalised a couple of times too often, and perhaps we went away a little from how we played in the first half.

"But we played a much better brand of rugby than we did against Ulster last week, and we will continue to try to develop that."

Stade's England lock Tom Palmer:
"Stade have been in two European finals and lost them both.

"There is a huge desire within the squad to put that right. The final being in Paris is a real motivating factor.

"Away wins in the Heineken Cup are so important. If you can do that, while also winning your home games, then you are in charge of your pool."

Bath: Abendanon; Maddock, Carraro, Hape, Banahan; Little, Claassens; Flatman, Dixon, Bell, Hooper, Grewcock, Faamatuainu, Salvi, Skirving.
Replacements: Cuthbert for Maddock (77), Barnes for Flatman (69), Hawkins for Dixon (60), Wilson for Bell (60), Short for Grewcock (77), Cracknell for Faamatuainu (70).
Not Used: Bemand, Davis.

Sin Bin: Banahan (53).

Stade Francais: Southwell; Arias, Bousses, Messina, Gasnier; Beauxis, Dupuy; Roncero, Szarzewski, Attoub, Palmer, Pape, Haskell, Rabadan, Parisse.
Replacements: Phillips for Arias (50), M Bergamasco for Messina (30), Blin for Szarzewski (67), Gerber for Attoub (55), Kayser for Rabadan (50).
Not Used: Weber, Marchois, Oelschig.

Sin Bin: Pape (44).

Att: 11,700

Ref: George Clancy (IRFU).

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see also
Barnes backs Meehan contract deal
14 Oct 09 |  Bath
Beattie is hit by three-week ban
14 Oct 09 |  Bath
Stade Francais 31-7 Edinburgh
10 Oct 09 |  Edinburgh
Ulster 26-12 Bath
09 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2009/10
22 Dec 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Rugby union on the BBC
05 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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