Edinburgh beat Stade to clinch home quarter-final

From BBC - January 12, 2018

Edinburgh secured a home European Challenge Cup quarter-final after an enthralling see-saw victory over Stade Francais at Murrayfield.

The capital side led 12-6 at half-time via four Sam Hidalgo-Clyne penalties.

Jules Plisson's third penalty and tries from Sekou Macalou and Waisea Vuidarvuwalu - either side of Hamish Watson's score - put Stade 26-19 up.

But Jaco van der Walt's try and penalty regained the lead, Craig Burden replied before Junior Rasolea's late try.

Blair Kinghorn landed what proved the winning conversion with two minutes left, before a last-ditch Stade attack ended in an Edinburgh penalty.

A breathtaking victory was a fifth from five pool matches for Richard Cockerill's side, who have secured a home tie in the last eight - prior to their final group match away to Stade in Paris next Saturday, 20 January.

Stade are a curious lot, a team that began their Challenge Cup campaign with a mind-altering loss to Krasny Yar in Siberia and followed it up with a 44-7 drubbing at home to London Irish. At that early stage in the group, they looked done. Their domestic season was going badly - they sit 11th in the Top 14 - and their focus seemed on survival in France rather than a defence of the title they won last season.

From disinterest came something different. They won two in a row and came to Murrayfield for the first part of a double-header with some hope and a whole lot of new-found determination.

Hidalgo-Clyne and Plisson traded penalties to make it 6-6 after the opening quarter. When Jonathan Danty went to the bin for persistent Stade offside, Hidalgo-Clyne kicked Edinburgh into a lead.

The scrum-half made it 12-6 just before the break. It was not pretty, but it was intriguing. Edinburgh had spent much of the half on the front foot but Stade's defence and their pushing of the boundaries of the offside law to breaking point kept it tight.

Tighter still when Stade began the second half with 10 rapid points. Things got manic from then. A thriller unfolded.

Plisson's penalty and then phase upon phase of pressure in its wake saw Macalou blast his way over. With Plisson's conversion, Stade hit the front at 16-12.

It veered crazily from there. Watson seized on a loose Stade line-out and galloped away like a good thing to score to put Edinburgh back in front, Hidalgo-Clyne's sure boot landing the conversion.

Post-match reaction:


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