Edinburgh v Stade Français
Edinburgh Rugby fought back to overcome a 17-point half-time deficit in an impressive display tonight at BT Murrayfield. The capital club started firing in the second half to eventually seal a 28-23 victory against the French giants.
Carrying their form from their previous two wins, Stade started strongly crossing the whitewash in the first few minutes. After failing to recover the kick-off, Edinburgh conceded two penalties and eventually a try to outside-centre Vuidravuwala, which was duly converted by Morne Steyn.
This confidence continued to flow, and Steyn hit over a long-range drop goal to extend the French lead to 10. Edinburgh struggled to break down the ferocious Stade defence, knocking on the ball and being held up on several occasions.
To compound attacking difficulties Edinburgh lost a scrum against the head on their own 10, leading to a sustained period of attack in the Edinburgh half. Blindside flanker, Macalou, made a break on the 10, and finished well to increase the gap between the two sides. Steyn was again metronomic with the boot, and opened up a 17-point gap.
Stade were reduced to 14 men in the 26th minute, with Paul Williams sent from the field for 10 minutes for a tip tackle on Viliame Mata. Edinburgh eventually got on the scoreboard with Duncan Weir knocking over 3-points after the pack won a penalty at the scrum, 34 minutes in.
Stade replied before the break with their own scrum penalty, which left the visitors 3-20 up at the half.
Half time: Edinburgh Rugby 3-20 Stade Francais
A rejuvenated Edinburgh came out for the second half, scoring a try out wide after a lineout on the Stade 10. Quick ball off the top allowed the back line to attack the Stade defence, with Damien Hoyand coasting around a defender and beating the covering full back to touch down in the corner. Weir missed the touchline conversion to leave the score at 8-20.
Edinburgh continued their assault on the Stade half as Duncan Weir drilled a kick into the French 22 which resulted in an Edinburgh penalty, as Stade were adjudged to have sealed off the ruck. Opting to kick to the corner, a strong maul was formed which resulted in Ben Toolis crashing over. Duncan Weir successfully converted to bring the scores to 15-20 with 28 minutes still to play.
In the 55th minute, the referee consulted to TMO on an incident after the whistle had been blown which resulted in Phil Burleigh receiving a red card for striking the face of Pascal Pape. A Stade penalty followed shortly and the deficit increased to 8 points as Steyn again was successful with the boot.
Mike Allen sparked a strong period of Edinburgh play with a crunching tackle leading to a knock-on and an attacking scrum for Edinburgh in the Stade half. A break down the right wing led to Edinburgh camped on the French 5-metre line. Heineken Man of the Match Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, spotted a gap and sniped round the side of the ruck with Weir adding the extras to bring Edinburgh within a point (22-23).
A fantastic kick chase off the kick-off clearance gave immediately gave Edinburgh a scrum on the Stade 5-metre. Blair Kinghorn partially charged down an attempted clearance by full back Sinzelle, which rebounded off an Edinburgh player back to the Stade man who was driven back over his line, thus presenting Edinburgh with a fantastic attacking opportunity.
Edinburgh won a penalty from the ensuing scrum which Duncan Weir knocked over to put the capital club for the first time in the match (25-23).
A sustained period of attack from the French side resulted in the TMO being consulted as it appeared the French side had scored. The video replays revealed that the Parisians had actually lost the ball forward in their attempt to get it over the line. Edinburgh then won a penalty off the ensuing scrum, and cleared up field. What followed was another penalty off the maul from the line-out and another kick. Edinburgh repeated the feat, and won themselves another penalty which Duncan Weir knocked over to put Edinburgh 5 points clear (28-23).
Edinburgh secured the ball off kick off and with only 1 minute left on the clock managed to maintain possession and won a penalty after the 80 minutes were up. This finished up what was a phenomenal comeback from the Edinburgh side, showing a huge amount of spirit and determination to overcome a 17 point deficit.
Full Time: Edinburgh Rugby 28-23 Stade Francais