Argentina’s Nicolas Sanchez scored 13 points to help Stade Francais stage a comeback against lowly Grenoble at Stade Jean Bouin in the Top 14 on Saturday.
The Parisians trailed 17-0 after 21 minutes but Sanchez, who only arrived in the French capital at the beginning of December, guided his side to a third straight win after a run of four successive defeats.
Stade Francais are yet to lose with Sanchez wearing the outside-half shirt. Lilian Saseras and Etienne Fourcade crossed early on for the visitors who sit in eleventh place in the table but Lester Etien’s touchdown sandwiched between two Sanchez penalty goals and a conversion bought the teams within four points at the break.
Hooker Laurent Sempere dotted down for the first time this season shortly after the restart and the 74-time Argentina international added the conversion.
Sanchez is unavailable for selection for the Pumas as he plays outside the south American country and is at risk of missing out on a place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan if the rules are not loosened by the Argentina Rugby Union and coach Mario Ledesma.
He added his final three-pointer from 40 metres out in with more than half an hour to play and victory moved Stade Francais up to sixth place before Bordeaux-Begles in seventh welcome Racing 92 on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Lyon maintained their chase for a place in the end of season play-offs with a crushing 52-20 win over Agen thanks to a virtuoso performance from Jonathan Wisnewski.
The fly-half kicked 13 points while Alexis Palisson scored two of Lyon’s seven tries at the Matmut Stadium. The win lifts them temporarily into fifth place in the league ahead Racing’s trip to Stade Chaban Delmas.
Full-back Toby Arnold followed his own kick and chase with a neat offload to allow centre Pierre-Louis Barassi to crash over from close range for the opening try of the game. Wisniewski, once seen as a possible France number 10, was in irrepressible form, a lovely dummy fooling the defence and opening up a gap for hooker Mickael Ivaldi to bulldoze through for Lyon’s second try.
Shortly after prop forward Francisco Gomez-Kodela finished off another flowing move. With Wisnewski adding the conversion Lyon were 21 points ahead at half-time.
Three minutes into the second half, the 33-year-old Wisniewski carved a hole for Alexis Palisson to gallop through for the bonus point fourth try.
Palisson added a second when he ran half the length of the field for Lyon’s fifth and Dylan Cretin and Thibault Regard added gloss to Lyon’s win. Valentin Saurs, Mathieu Lamoulie and Julien Heriteau all touched down for Agen but it wasn’t enough to secure them a defensive bonus point.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)