Home comforts help Stade seize initiative

STADE FRANCAIS seized the initiative in Heineken Cup Pool Four with victory over Ulster at Stade Jean Bouin.

The contest had been scheduled to take place in Brussels on Saturday but snow forced the postponement and the fixture was switched to Stade’s Paris home.

The hosts thrived on home turf as Dimitri Szarzewski and Benjamin Kayser rounded off forward efforts with tries and France fly-half Lionel Beauxis was unerringly accurate with the boot – kicking 19 points, seven from seven attempts – to put Stade clear of Ulster and Edinburgh at the top of the standings.

Ian Humphreys kicked 11 points and Andrew Trimble scored a second-half solo try but Ulster fell to a second Heineken Cup loss of the season.

There was the prospect of bad blood between the sides following last weekend’s 23-13 win for Ulster at Ravenhill – a result that was overshadowed by two instances of eye-gouging.

France scrum-half Julien Dupuy was banned on Friday for six months for his attack on Stephen Ferris, while replacement prop David Attoub, who was also cited for eye-gouging the Ireland and British and Irish Lions flanker, must wait to learn his fate after his case was adjourned pending further evidence.

Ulster took first blood when Humphreys kicked a penalty but Beauxis soon replied with three points of his own as Stade punished the visitors’ indiscipline.

The hosts went in front for the first time when a fine forward effort was finished off by Szarzewski. Beauxis converted.

Ulster had the opportunity to cut the deficit soon after but Humphreys missed the penalty attempt.

He made amends soon after but Stade quickly responded to further Ulster indiscipline as Beauxis kicked two more penalties to open up a 10-point lead.

Another infringement at the breakdown allowed Beauxis to kick his fourth penalty but Humphreys narrowed the deficit once more as Stade took a 19-9 half-time advantage.

Beauxis kicked his fifth penalty to extend the advantage to 13 points as Ulster slipped further behind.

The France number 10 spurned three further points by kicking to the corner and Stade claimed a second try.

It was a straightforward success for the powerful Paris side’s pack as Kayser, a replacement for Szarzewski, touched down to cap the forward drive. Beauxis added the conversion.

But Ulster’s faint hopes were boosted when Trimble burst onto Humphreys’ pass and powered around Ollie Phillips.

Humphreys converted to cut the gap to 13 points with 11 minutes remaining.

But Ulster could not forge a fightback as Stade held on.

Stade Francais scorers: Tries: Szarzewski, Kayser. Cons: Beauxis 2. Pens: Beauxis 5.

STADE FRANÇAIS PARIS: H Southwell, J Arias, M Bastareaud, G Bousses, M Gasnier, L Beauxis, N Oelschig, R Roncero, D Szarzewski, S Marconnet, T Palmer, P Pape, M Bergamasco, P Rabadan, J Leguizamon.

Replacements: Kayser for Szarzewski (55), Haskell for M. Bergamasco (55).

Ulster scorers: Tries: Trimble. Cons: Humphreys. Pens: Humphreys 3.

ULSTER: C Schifcofske, T Nagusa, A Trimble, P Wallace, S Danielli, I Humphreys, I Boss, T Court, N Brady, B Botha, E O’Donoghue, D Tuohy, S Ferris, W Faloon, C Henry.

Replacements: Whitten for Nagusa (50), Young for Court (67), Kyriacou for Brady (67), D. Fitzpatrick for Botha (72), Caldwell for Tuohy (61), Pollock for Faloon (58).

Referee: Chris White (RFU).

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