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Stade Francais Defeat Gloucester In A Feisty Challenge Cup Final

European Rugby Challenge Cup Final, BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland 12/5/2017 Gloucester vs Stade Francais Stade Francais’ Geoffrey Doumayrou scores a try

Stade Francais have ended a turbulent season in triumphant fashion, defeating Gloucester 25-17 in a tremendously lively Challenge Cup final on Friday night.

The French side, who were at one point to be the subject of a highly controversial merger with Top 14 rivals Racing 92, were able to put their domestic issues to one side and enjoy a victory against their English opponents at Murrayfield.

Gloucester, not without their own issues of course after the midseason departure of coach Laurie Fisher, were led into battle by interim coach Jonny Bell, and a battle it certainly was with a number of incidents throughout the game culminating in a first-half yellow card for scrum-half Will Heinz.

Gloucester made the stronger start and were 10-0 up after the first twenty minutes, but the sides went in level at the half-time break as a try from Italian legend Sergio Parisse. The teams went in with the tension to boiling over, Heinz saw yellow but something of a brawl broke out between the two sides in the confusion that followed the initial incident involving Stade fly-half Jules Plisson.

European Rugby Challenge Cup Final, BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland 12/5/2017 Gloucester vs Stade Francais Referee John Lacey yellow cards Willi Heinz of Gloucester
INPHO/James Crombie
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The deadlock was broken just before the hour mark, Stade Francais completing the turnaround through Jonathan Danty, though the move had an air of controversy about it with Gloucester believing they could have had a penalty try right before the French side ran up the other end of the pitch and took the lead.

From there, Stade took control, and two more tries (albeit unconverted as Plisson’s kick seemed to have deserted him) were enough to see off a spirited Gloucester side, though Ross Moriarty did ensure that the Premiership side would at least have the final say with the final try of the game.

Stade, after enduring so much heartbreak over the years and at one point didn’t look like they’d even exist as the same entity next season, have finally snared that elusive European title.

There was, however, not a lot of love for Irish referee John Lacey, who some on social media believed got a number of big calls wrong at crucial times of the game:

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Author: The PA Team

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