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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 January 2006, 16:46 GMT
Leicester 29-22 Stade Francais
Leicester's Andy Goode is engulfed against Stade Francais
Leicester: (9) 29
Tries: Deacon, Hipkiss
Cons: Goode (2)
Pens: Goode (5)
Stade Francais: (12) 22
Tries: Bergamasco
Cons: Skrela
Pens: Skrela (3)
Drops: Hernandez, Corleto
Leicester staged a miraculous comeback to snatch a thrilling victory against Stade Francais in the Heineken Cup at Welford Road on Sunday.

The Tigers were rocked when a second-half interception try from substitute Mirco Bergamasco took the French side 10 points clear.

But late tries from Louis Deacon and Dan Hipkiss, and conversions from Andy Goode rescued a dire situation.

Tigers can seal their last-eight spot against Clermont next week.

Leicester's hopes had nose-dived when the normally dependable Goode missed three penalties and then threw the interception pass for Bergamasco.

But he made amends with a chip-through to spark lock Deacon's try and ended with a 19-point haul.

Stade had edged ahead with 11 points from David Skrela and drop-goals from Juan Hernandez and Ignacio Corleto.

Leicester, the 2001 and 2002 champions, can lose against Clermont but as long as they gain a bonus point they will progress as group winners.

Geordan Murphy
Murphy set up the winning try for Dan Hipkiss

Stade Francais made a brisk start but Leicester ignited the crowd early on with a dazzling counter from a line-out deep in their own 22.

England skipper Martin Corry and then Hipkiss fed left wing Geordan Murphy, who caught the ball and chipped ahead in one movement.

Leicester surged to within a few metres of the Stade line but the chasing Ollie Smith was unable to gather the ball.

Soon after, Goode slotted over the opening penalty despite Stade enjoying the lion's share of possession.

And last year's runners-up squandered points when Skrela missed a penalty and fly-half Alain Penaud saw his drop-goal attempt drift wide.

As the tense stalemate continued, Goode and Skrela exchanged penalties before Stade centre Hernandez's drop-goal drew the French side level.

Another penalty apiece took the score to 9-9 and Skrela added a third on half-time as Goode missed his first kick.

Leicester spent the early part of the second period camped in Stade's half but Goode snatched at two penalties in quick succession.

The England hopeful's day got worse when his stray clearance kick gave Corleto the chance to land a drop-goal to open a six-point lead.

It was short-lived as Goode rediscovered his radar but Leicester were rocked when Bergamasco ran home from 60 yards.

With 10 minutes left Goode grabbed another valuable three-pointer and it was his chip which opened up Stade's defence for Deacon to romp home on 73 minutes after good support form Murphy.

Goode's conversion levelled the score at 22-22 and a pulsating late sustained attack saw Leicester work Hipkiss into the left corner on 79 minutes for a dramatic victory.

  • Leicester coach Pat Howard:

    "We are in the entertainment business, aren't we?"

    "There is an amazing amount of belief at the club, and the players showed great conviction. Stade are a quality team, one of the sides who are capable of winning the Heineken Cup.

    "At 22-12 behind, I didn't think the game was gone. We knew that 10 points was in our reach, and the players really believed in themselves."

    Leicester: Vesty; Murphy, Smith, Hipkiss, Lloyd; Goode, Healey; Rowntree, Chuter, White; L Deacon, Kay; Johnson, Jennings, Corry (captain).
    Replacements: Buckland, Morris, Cullen, Abraham, Ellis, Broadfoot, Varndell.

    Stade Francais: Corleto; Borges, Skrela, JM Hernandez, Dominici; Penaud, Fillol; Marconnet, Szarzewski, De Villiers; Auradou (capt), James; Parisse, Rabadan, Sowerby.
    Replacements: Kayser, Roncero, Marchois, Martin, M Williams, Messina, Bergamasco.

    Heineken Cup
    18 Dec 05 |  European Club
    London Irish 25-28 Leicester
    08 Jan 06 |  English
    Ospreys 15-17 Leicester
    18 Dec 05 |  European Club
    Jones returns but Clermont lose
    17 Dec 05 |  European Club


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