McKenzie’s Stade Francais see off battling Mont de Marsan

Stade Francais narrowly avoided their first upset of the season as they battled past newly-promoted Mont-de-Marsan 27-22 in French Top 14 rugby action on Saturday.

 

Champions Toulouse bounced back from their opening defeat earlier in the week beating visiting Dax 32-25, as Toulon were held to a lacklustre 3-3 draw by Brive.

Stade Francais’s new Australian coach Ewen McKenzie admitted his side would need to review their strategy before heading to Perpignan next Saturday as Mont-de-Marsan were boosted ahead of their first home tie against Toulon.


“It was a difficult match,” said MacKenzie. “With the little injuries from Tuesday’s match it was difficult.


“We had a lot of errors, ten or 12 during the first 20 minutes, so it was hard to maintain the pressure. But we won the match which is everything.


“During the first matches of the season it’s normal to have mistakes. But what’s worrying me is that they are the same as against Dax.”

 

The Parisians failed to sparkle for their first match on front of their home crowd this season as Mont-de-Marsan quickly notched up three penalities from the boot of scrum-half Benat Arrayet.

Mirco Bergamasco, promoted to penalty taker in the absence of Juan Martin Hernandez and Lionel Beauxis, helped keep Stade Francais in the game with both sides 9-9 at the break.


The visitors took advantage of the Parisian’s mistakes with third-rower Marc Giraud touching down the first try after 47 minutes.


Arrayet converted and added a penalty for good measure to open up a 19-9 advantage.


But Mont-de-Marsan were hit hard when substitute Romain Delmas was sin-binned opening the way for Pierre Rabadan to touch down for Stade’s first try, converted by Bergamasco, and a second by Sergio Parisse nine minutes later kept the Parisians ahead.


Toulouse, beaten by Montpellier on Tuesday, overcame a late fightback from Dax, with two tries from Charles Gimenez and three penalties off the boot of Jean-Baptiste Elissalde.


Bayonne beat Montauban 22-20 and Clermont saw off Montpellier 43-20.


Bad news was to come for Bourgoin in the late match. Apart from losing 16-22 at home to Perpignan, they also lost fly-half Benjamin Boyet for several weeks with a hamstring injury.


Boyet, who got hurt in the second half and was replaced on the hour by Argentina’s Mattias Viazzo, was due to have further tests early next week to find out the exact length of his unavailability.


Sapa-AFP – Top14Rugby.com

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