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Wasps' director of rugby Nigel Melville
"I think we could have won"
 real 14k

Sunday, 30 September, 2001, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Stade pluck Wasps' wings
Hooker Phil Greening (r) on a charge for Wasps
Hooker Phil Greening (r) on a charge for Wasps
Wasps 19-25 Stade Francais
Heineken Cup Pool 2

Heineken Cup finalists Stade Francais got their new campaign off to a flying start with a hard fought victory over Wasps on Sunday.

In a match saturated with errors, Stade fly half Diego Dominguez found form with the boot to notch up a personal tally of 20 points.

The Londoners hit back after the break with tries from centre Josh Lewsey and winger Kenny Logan.

But a Thomas Lombard try pushed the French giants further in front and continued Wasps' miserable string of results.

With just three minutes on the clock, Dominguez slotted the first points of the match, after Wasps were penalised for offside in front of their own posts.

Simon Shaw (r) is stopped by Diego Dominguez
Simon Shaw (r) is stopped by Diego Dominguez
The home side started sluggishly and it was fitting that legendary All Black lock Ian Jones, making his debut for the club, provided his side with their first real attacking platform.

Rising high in the lineout, Jones tapped down to scrum half Mike Friday who fed the ball out, only for captain Mike Denney to throw a wasteful pass into touch inside Stade's 22.

Numerous elementary errors followed and when hooker Phil Greening found himself isolated on the floor, Dominguez again took advantage to push his side further in front.

From the restart, Logan quickly cut the deficit, when Stade number eight Christophe Juillet was penalised for blocking.

And the penalty count continued when Wasps were yet again caught offside, allowing Dominguez to stroke over his third kick of the game.

Despite the efforts of Jones, Wasps struggled to find any continuity and it was no surprise when Dominguez converted his fourth penalty from the left hand touchline.

As halftime approached, Stade grew in confidence and after a sustained attack, were unlucky not have been awarded a penalty try when Lewsey was found guilty of failing to release on his own line.

Under mounting pressure, Wasps were fortunate to concede only another three points.

And despite a Logan penalty before the break, they looked ill-equipped to withstand another 40 minutes from a French side also playing well below their best.

Wasps fight back

Seconds after halftime, Wasps were thrown a life-line when Poole-Jones was sin-binned for a gratuitous punch.

At last the home side moved up a gear and after an impressive phase of attacks, Lewsey found himself in space on the left to dive over for the game's opening try.

Logan missed the conversion, but at 15-11 Wasps were back in the game - and even moreso when the Scot slotted a penalty to reduce the deficit to just one point.

Wasps looked a far more impressive outfit in the second period.

But after struggling to add to their tally, Stade struck out of the blue when Thomas Lombard cut through some dismal tackling to score underneath the posts.

Dominguez slotted the conversion with ease to give Stade a 22-14 lead.

Again the visitors grew in confidence, prompting Wasps to quickly lose their shape.

With just minutes to go, Dominguez eased through his sixth penalty from in front of the posts, before Logan added Wasps' second try in injury time to lessen the heartache.

But there was visible relief from the home fans when the whistle was blown on what amounted to a disappointing European encounter.

Wasps - Tries: Josh Lewsey, Kenny Logan, Pens: Logan (3)

Stade Francais - Tries: Thomas Lombard, Cons: Diego Dominguex (1), Pens: Dominguez (6)

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