Freddie Burns scored 16 points as the Leicester Tigers beat Stade Français 41-13 in their European Champions Cup quarter-final at Welford Road on Sunday.
In perfect weather conditions, Burns – with a try, four conversions and a penalty – starred for the hosts who controlled the game from start to finish. In stark contrast, Stade flyhalf Morné Steyn had a poor game despite playing behind a dominant pack of forwards. And, two of his mistakes led to tries for the Tigers.
In the end the Tigers’ superior attack and tactical kicking saw them outscore Stade six tries to one to book their place in the semi-finals for the first time in seven years.
The game got off to the worst possible start for the Parisians as an intercept led to a try for Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi as early as the second minute. That was followed by converted tries for winger Vereniki Goneva and Burns, whose effort came against the run of play when he intercepted a stray pass by Steyn. Stade did get on the board through two penalties, as they trailed 24-6 at the break.
Stade struck back directly after the restart when former Tigers halfback Julien Dupuy galloped in from close range but that was the visitors’ last flourish, as the hosts opened the floodgates.
An aimless kick by Steyn saw the Tigers launch a lethal counter-attack through fullback Mathew Tait and with Stade’s defence at sixes and sevens, the ball was spread wide to Goneva, who had an easy run-in for his second try of the match.
Flank Mike Fitzgerald and winger Telusa Veainu closed out the restart with a try apiece in the final quarter as the Tigers efficiently eliminated Stade, thus ending the Parisians' only realistic chance of collecting silverware this season.
Leicester Tigers – Tries: Manu Tuilagi, Vereniki Goneva (2), Freddie Burns, Mike Fitzgerald, Telisa Veainu. Conversions: Burns (4). Penalty: Burns.
Stade Français – Try: Julien Dupuy. Conversion: Morné Steyn. Penalties: Steyn (2).
Leicester – 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Subs: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Adam Thompstone.
Stade Français – 15 Djibril Camara, 14 Waisea Vuidarvuwalu, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Jérémy Sinzelle, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Raphaël Lakafia, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Remi Bonfils, 1 Zurabi Zhvania.
Subs: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Paul Alo Emile, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Hugo Bonneval.
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images