Stade Francais stun Toulon in Paris

Heineken Cup champions Toulon missed an opportunity to move back to the summit of the French Top 14 standings when they were shocked 20-3 by Stade Francais in Paris on Saturday.

Bernard Laporte’s team had lost top spot to Clermont on Friday after the Vulcans came from behind to win 30-23 at Perpignan.

Any sort of victory at the Stade Jean-Bouin would have taken Toulon, who rested many first choice regulars, back above the team they beat in last season’s European Cup final.

Despite the reverse, Laporte insisted he was not worried.

“I’m not concerned, we had a good discussion,” he said.

“Although at times my morale is at zero, had we scored what we should have scored here, we’d have won.”

It was the first time Toulon had been blanked out since a stunning 41-0 humiliation at Bordeaux-Begles in February.

“On the whole, it was us who had the ball but we conceded two assassin’s tries,” said Laporte, who was more concerned about keeping some stars fresh for next week’s trip to Exeter in the European Cup.

But after a turgid first half that featured a single successful penalty from Julien Dupuy, Stade took control after the break.

Dupuy added two more place-kicks before fly-half Jules Plisson dived through a gap between France half-back Frederic Michalak and Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni to score on 58 minutes, with Dupuy kicking the extras.

Shorn of England legend Jonny Wilkinson, Toulon were lacking in any sort of creative spark as Michalak failed to inspire, being replaced on the hour mark at fly-half by Australian Matt Giteau.

Stade put the gloss on their performance in the final minute as Geoffrey Dumayrou went over with Plisson’s replacement Morne Steyn, the South Africa half-back, kicking the conversion.

The result means four-time European champions Toulouse could go top with a bonus-point victory at Grenoble later on Saturday.

On Friday, Fiji centre Noa Nakaitaci, scrum-half Thierry Lacrampe and left-wing Julien Malzieu scored tries for Clermont while the Catalan hosts earned a losing bonus thanks to a penalty try and a score from new France winger Sofiane Guitoune.

Wales international fly-half James Hook kicked two conversions and three penalties for Perpignan.

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