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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 16:48 GMT
Stade Francais 27-16 Sale
Stade Francais winger Christophe Dominici
Dominici skins Jason Robinson for his first try of the match

Stade Francais: (17) 27
Tries: Dominici 2, Saubade 2
Cons: Skrela, Beauxis
Pens: Beauxis

Sale: (6) 16
Try: Chabal
Con: Thomas
Pens: Larrechea, Thomas 2

Sale's brave second-half fightback came up short as Stade Francais battled to a bonus-point Heineken Cup win in Paris.

Stade wingers Christophe Dominici and Julien Saubade produced three brilliant finishes between them to give their side a deserved 17-6 half-time lead.

Having offered little in the first half, Sale battled back well and were rewarded with Sebastien Chabal's interception try on 70 minutes.

But Saubade's interception score with five minutes left ended Sale's hopes.

With a huge crowd of 45,000 looking on, the pre-match Moulin Rouge-themed entertainment promised a high-octane match - and so it proved as Stade's classy backs ran riot in the first half.

Stade's willingness to spread the ball, and fluency in doing so, stretched Sale's defence to the limit, with one superb early break from Mirco Bergasmasco halted just short of the tryline.

The pre-match entertainment at the Parc des Princes
The Moulin Rouge dancers kept fans entertained before the match

But after missing with his first shot at goal, Daniel Larrechea opened the scoring for Sale on 14 minutes with a straightforward penalty.

The visitors' lead did not last for long though, as within a minute Dominici had outstripped some naive Sale defence to provide a try worthy of the atmosphere inside the Parc des Princes.

Centre Geoffroy Messina powered through the first line of defence, before feeding the mercurial Dominici and despite having just inches to work in, he danced up the touchline past Jason Robinson's despairing tackle.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on Sale's defeat

Stade's second try was even better, with the impressive full-back Juan Martin Fernandez straightening the line before passing to Saubade to chip over Robinson and collect.

To make matters even worse, Sale's injury crisis took another turn for the worse with their England wing Mark Cueto hobbling off with a hip injury.

Lee Thomas slotted a well-struck penalty after Juan Fernandez Lobbe was taken off the ball, but Sale were living off scraps and it was little surprise when Dominici crossed for his second try.

Sale number eight Sebastien Chabal
There was no stopping Chabal after he made the interception

Again, Stade's backline gave their winger all the room he needed to stand up Robinson and squeeze into the corner with another tremendous finish.

After the break, Sale dug in with real character as they started to treat possession with more respect and their pack began to get the upper hand around the fringes.

A glittering Robinson break seemed to spark the visitors, and Thomas' second penalty was no less than his side deserved.

Stade's first-half fluency began to desert them, and it needed a long-range penalty from substitute Lionel Beauxis to settle their nerves.

The butterflies returned straight after though as Chabal intercepted on halfway to burst through for a try, and the conversion cut Stade's lead to just 20-16.

Sale were within sight of a losing bonus point at the very least, but a loose pass from Richard Wigglesworth saw the razor-sharp Saubade intercept and grab a bonus point for the home side.

  • Sale coach Philippe Saint-Andre on next week's rematch:

    "To be fair, it will be very hard.

    "If we want to qualify, we have to win next week and score four tries. But I am sure we can beat them.

    "We created a lot but we didn't score enough. But I think it was a good game against a very good team."

    Stade Francais: Hernandez; Saubade, Messina, Mirco Bergamasco, Dominici; Skrela, Fillol; Marconnet, Blin, De Villiers, Auradou (capt), James, Mauro Bergamasco, Rabadan, Parisse.
    Replacements: Weber, Montes, Marchois, Burban, Pichot, Beauxis, Corleto.

    Sale: Robinson (capt); Cueto, Mayor, L Thomas, Foden; Larrechea, Wigglesworth; Roberts, Bruno, Turner, C Jones, I Fernandez Lobbe, JM Fernandez Lobbe, Lund, Chabal.
    Replacements: Faure, Titterrell, Stewart, Schofield, Bonner Evans, Martens, Taylor.

    Sale 21-5 Scarlets
    02 Dec 06 |  Sale
    Sale 67-11 Calvisano
    27 Oct 06 |  Sale


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