This is another better late than never episode so will probably be more photo than words.
With English teams featuring heavily in the Quarter Final of the European Cups I scoured the fixtures when announced to see how many games I could fit in. I was disappointed not to be able to see Harlequins as well as Saracens, but very happy to realise I could watch Tigers v Stade.
I will always support an English team then a home nation team against a French team, but I am a huge fan of one Sergio Parisse and was thrilled to see him lift the Top14 trophy with Stade in Paris last year.
Tigers have had a mixed season, with all not quite seeming to be right at Welford Road, yet as is so often the way they are there or thereabouts at the business end of the season.
It seems that on occasion French teams don’t travel well, see Saracens v Clermont Auvergne in the 2014 Heineken Cup semi-final, they pretty much thrashed them.
Well, I think that non PC description just about suits the game between Tigers and Stade. Not to detract from a superb performance from the home team, it was shout out loud exciting at times! But, my goodness Stade were poor!
A very clever piece of play by Freddie Burns saw Manu Tuilagi (why is that pronouned with an N?) score what must be one of the softest try’s in the competition this season. Burns took a quick throw in after a clever grubber kick of his was fumbled by Djibril Camara, the ball went to Tuilagi who crashed over to score. That saw 4 minutes and 7 points on the board after Burns converted the try.
Two Morne Steyn penalties closed that gap, but that was to be the closest the visitors got. A neat pass from Ben Youngs saw the ever popular Vereniki Goneva steam over to score, Burns converted the try.
Burns was then gifted his own try after he intercepted a pass, he stormed down the picth from halfway to add a further 5 points, duly turned into 7!
The teams went in at half time with the scores on Leicester Tigers 24 Stade Francais 6.
Stade emerged with determination as Julien Dupuy took the glory after hard work from his forwards to scamper over and score, Steyn added the extras.
However that was to be their final say in the game as far as points were concerned and minutes later Goneva scored his second try with only 4 second half minutes on the clock. Burns again converted the try.
Tigers dominated the half with Michael Fitzgerald and Telusa Veainu scoring tries – Owen Williams had come on for Freddie Burns and he somehow managed to hit the posts with the conversions as well as a penalty or 2 (I confess I absolutely can’t find a match report to confirm – but I recall he hit the posts 3 times)
The final score was as I hinted at the start – Leicester Tigers 41 Stade Francais 13. The Tigers will be hoping their French rivals for the semi-final Racing Metro similarly don’t travel well!