Tigers too good for Stade

The Leicester Tigers beat Stade Français 33-20 in their European Champions Cup match at Welford Road on Friday.

Trailing 8-0 early in the first half, the hosts scored two tries either side of the break to set themselves up for a bonus-point victory in the tournament opener.

It was the Tigers who crossed the tryline first through Peter Betham, but his effort was disallowed for obstruction in the lead-up.

Instead, Stade took the lead with a superb try from a move starting deep inside their own half. Slick offloading and excellent handling by outside backs Hugo Bonneval and Julien Arias down the right flank saw replacement scrumhalf Julien Tomas dot down in the corner.

Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn missed the touchline conversion, but slotted a penalty to give his side an eight-point lead.

Leicester then began to dominate and a turnover at the breakdown by debutant flank Brendon O’Connor resulted in a five-pointer for wing Vereniki Goneva. The conversion was skewed, but another try by Matt Smith five minutes later was converted by flyhalf Owen Williams for a 12-8 advantage going into the break.

The Tigers started the second half like they ended the first when O’Connor scooped up a loose ball on halfway and raced clear for their third.

Williams added a penalty for the Tigers, before Stade stormed back into the contest when captain Sergio Parisse’s back-of-the-hand flick pass opened up the Tigers' defence, which Paul Williams exploited to go over for a try.

However, 10 unanswered points via a fourth try, a conversion and a penalty in the final quarter put the result beyond doubt at 30-15.

And while Stade did cross for a consolation effort late in the match, the Tigers capped off proceedings with a penalty goal to seal a well-deserved victory.

Leicester Tigers – Tries: Vereniki Goneva, Matt Smith, Ben Youngs, Brendon O’Connor. Conversions: Owen Williams (2). Penalties: Williams (2), Seremaia Bai.
Stade Français – Tries: Julien Tomas, Julien Arias, Paul Williams. Conversion: Morné Steyn. Penalty: Steyn.

Leicester Tigers – 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Mike Williams, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Subs: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Seremaia Bai, 23 Telusa Veainu.

Stade Français – 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Paul Williams, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jérémy Sinzelle, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Sylvain Nicolas, 6 Patrick Sio, 5 Pascal Papé, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Adrien Oleon, 2 Laurent Panis, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Subs: 16 Dany Priso, 17 Zurabi Zhvania, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Waisea Nayacalevu, 23 Josaia Raisuqe.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams