Plisson boots Stade Francais to Grenoble Top14 victory

Jules Plisson kicked all of Stade's points

France fly-half Jules Plisson kicked seven penalties to help Stade Francais to a vital 21-19 away win over Grenoble on Sunday to kick start their floundering Top 14 season.

Plisson was in outstanding form for the reigning Top 14 champions who were missing inspirational No 8 and captain Sergio Parisse (Achilles tendon) and had arrived at the Stade des Alpes in cold, driving rain searching a first away win in the ninth round of matches.

It was also Stade’s first game since the November 13 coordinated terror attacks on Paris that killed 130 people, the capital club having postponed their European Cup match against Munster. The victory moves them up to 10th place on 17 points, 12 off leaders Clermont.

Jonathan Wisniewski opened the scoring for Grenoble after giant centre Jonathan Danty infringed at a ruck.

Plisson drew Stade level before Wisniewski notched up his second in a tight opening quarter that saw few chances.

When Stade flanker Alexandre Flanquart brought down a driving maul on the half-hour mark, referee Pascal Gauzere had no option but to brandish a yellow card.

Immediately, Grenoble kicked to the corner and a quickly taken touch was well claimed in the middle of the line and played to the blindside, twice-capped Wallaby flanker Peter Kimlin crashing over in the corner.

Wisniewski missed the conversion, but ill-disciplined tackling by Kiwi prop Dayna Edwards gifted Plisson two quick-fire penalty efforts, the fly-half making no mistake to draw Stade up to an unlikely half-time scoreline of 11-9.

Ill-discipline from the home side continued early in the second period, Plisson kicking two more penalties to move Stade on to a 15-11 lead.

After Danty upended Grenoble’s Samoa-born Kiwi centre Nigel Hunt, Wisniewski made no mistake to bring his side back to within a point.

Stade handed South African enforcer Willem Alberts a debut off the bench, Plisson kicking a sixth penalty shortly afterwards following Sona Taumalolo’s yellow-carding for a dangerous tackle on Hugo Bonneval.

– Chastening –
The fly-half was on target with a seventh effort, but drama was to follow as Grenoble’s Australian hooker Anthony Hegarty crashed over for a second try from a penalty-touch to the corner with just five minutes to play.

Wisniewski missed the conversion, however, and a snap drop-goal was charged down as the Parisians held on for a crucial victory.

In Saturday’s action, European champions Toulon emphatically demonstrated that rumours of their demise had been exaggerated as they thumped Clermont 35-9.

Toulon came into the match on the back of a stuttering start to the season in which they started the day in the bottom half of the table, while they had begun the defence of their European crown last weekend with a chastening 32-6 thrashing at Wasps.

But with Australian World Cup finalists Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell and fellow-Wallaby James O’Connor in the starting line-up, Toulon inflicted a rare home defeat on a strangely subdued Clermont.

Toulon even managed an attacking bonus point to move up to third, just two points behind Clermont, with tries through Delon Armitage, Eric Escande, a penalty try and Mitchell.

New Zealand star Dan Carter was presented to his adoring new fans before Racing 92 gave their latest recruit something to cheer in beating Toulouse 28-13.

In other games, Brive moved up to fourth with an impressive bonus-point 34-9 victory at Oyonnax, who dropped to the bottom of the table.

Agen moved off the bottom despite losing 23-18 at home to 2013 champions Castres as that was enough to pick up a losing bonus point.

Scrum-half Yann Lesgourgues scored four tries as Bordeaux-Begles got six in total in thrashing last season’s second division champions Pau 46-10.

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