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Stade Francais 37-17 Harlequins
Harlequins winger David Strettle
Quins battled bravely on their return to the Heineken Cup
Stade Francais 37 (17)
Tries: Liebenberg, Dominici, Saubade, Bergamasco
Cons: Skrela 2, Liebenberg 2
Pens: Skrela 3

Harlequins 17 (3)
Tries: Monye, Barry
Cons: Malone, Jarvis
Pen: Malone

Harlequins made a losing return to the Heineken Cup as tournament favourites Stade Francais powered to a bonus-point win in their opening Pool Three match.

Tries from Brian Liebenberg and Christophe Dominici put Stade into a comfortable 17-3 half-time lead.

Ugo Monye's 43rd-minute try cut the gap, but Stade's star-studded side gradually made their class tell.

Julien Saubade crossed with 10 minutes left and Mirco Bergamasco's late 70m run-in gave Stade a bonus point.

Quins centre De Wet Barry went over for a consolation injury-time score, and his side will take plenty of positives from a brave performance at the Stade Jean Bouin.

Returning after a two-year absence from the competition, Quins made a decent start with Chris Malone kicking his side into a 10th-minute lead.

David Skrela replied with a penalty five minutes later as Stade worked their way back into the match after a sluggish start.

Liebenberg scored the first try of the match, bursting onto Pascal Pape's cleverly delayed pass to slice his way through from 25 yards out.

The hostile atmosphere took a turn for the worse when Paul Volley's elbow on Mauro Bergamasco led to a brawl involving most of the players on the pitch.

Stade grabbed the next try to take firm control of the match, with Malone coughing up possession before Jerome Fillol, Mauro Bergamasco and Skrela combined to give Dominici a simple score.

Harlequins hit back early in the second half when Malone's high kick to the left corner was gathered by Monye before he went through Nicolas Jeanjean's tackle to score in the corner.

Two Skrela penalties kept Quins at arm's length, and the result was put beyond doubt when Saubade's running skills took him over after 71 minutes.

Mirco Bergamasco sealed the bonus point for Stade by running in from long range after more turnover ball, while Barry grounded a consolation try for Quins in injury time.


  • Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards:
    "We showed a lot of ambition in some of the things we did and I thought the boys played with confidence.

    "We sometimes played in the wrong parts of the field and we turned over too much ball in the wrong areas.

    "When they had their chances, they scored. We probably had three or four more chances to score, but didn't finish them off.

    "We didn't turn our possession into points and not only that, the majority of their tries came from our turnovers."

  • Stade Francais centre Brian Liebenberg:
    "I don't think the scoreline reflects the match. We were expecting a tough game and we got it.

    "We are happy with victory, but there is still a long way to go and it's such a tough competition."


    Stade Francais: Jeanjean, Saubade, M. Bergamasco, Liebenberg, Dominici, Skrela, Fillol, Attoub, Blin, Weber, du Plooy, Pape, M. Bergamasco, Martin, Parisse.
    Replacements: Szarzewski, Simutoga, Milton, Charlon, Bouhraoua, Messina, Bastareaud.

    Harlequins: Brown, Strettle, Luscombe, Barry, Monye, Malone, Gomarsall, Jones, Fuga, Ross, Kohn, Evans, Robshaw, Volley, Easter.
    Replacements: Brooker, Brooks, Spanghero, Hala'ufia, So'oialo, Jarvis, Masson.

    Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)



    SEE ALSO
    Heineken Cup 2007/8
    23 May 07 |  Rugby Union


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