Connacht destroy Stade Français in Galway
EURO CUP REPORT: Connacht captain Jack Carty produced a hat-trick of assists and kicked six points as Andy Friend’s side beat Stade Français Paris 36-9 in the Champions Cup on Sunday.
The 29-year-old released Caolin Blade, John Porch and Eoghan Masterson for tries at a windy Sportsground with the hosts recording a bonus-point win in their opening Pool B game.
Stade Français flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez scored three penalties for the visitors – who failed to record a single try in their first game back in the Champions Cup since the 2015/16 season.
Diarmuid Kilgallen, Eoghan Masterson and then Cian Prendergast all crossed late on for the Irish province as Connacht ended their four-game losing run in the Champions Cup.
Connacht scrumhalf Blade opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes, forcing his way through the Stade Français defence following good play from centres Sammy Arnold and Shayne Bolton.
Stade Français’ Sanchez quickly replied for the visitors with two penalties – the second of which was a terrific effort from the halfway line.
In response, Andy Friend’s side then began to assault the Stade Français 22, with Finlay Bealhorn and Blade both threatening to dot down for the hosts.
Connacht would eventually break through the Stade Français defensive line again, when flyhalf Carty’s fantastic pass found an unmarked Porch to slide over for his side’s second try of the afternoon.
Carty then produced another sublime looping pass for Wootton to score and converted the wing’s try to give Connacht a 19-6 lead at half-time.
Gonzalo Quesada’s men started the second half well as they ventured into the Connacht 22 and reduced the deficit through another Sanchez penalty for the Top 14 side.
Despite piling on the pressure, Stade Français failed to get through the Connacht line and conceded another try in the 67th minute when Carty set up replacement Masterson for their side’s bonus point try.
Fellow replacement Diarmuid Kilgallen then crossed for the hosts, with flank Cian Prendergast going over in the final seconds during a dominant performance from Connacht.
Connacht travel to Leicester Tigers next Sunday whereas Stade Francais host Bristol Bears at the Stade Jean Bouin.
Tries: Blade, Porch, Wootton, Masterson, Kilgallen, Prendergast
Cons: Carty 3
For Stade Francais:
Pens: Sanchez 3
Connacht: 15 Oran McNulty, 14 Alex Wootton, 13 Shayne Bolton, 12 Sammy Arnold, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Jack Carty (captain), 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Niall Murray, 4 Oisín Dowling, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Matthew Burke.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 Leva Fifita, 20 Seán Masterson, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Tom Farrell.
Stade Francais: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Paul Champ, 13 Alex Arrate, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Lester Etien, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 James Hall, 8 Tala Gray (captain), 7 Charlie Francoz, 6 Marcos Kremer, 4 Mathieu de Giovanni, 5 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Nemo Roelofse, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Quentin Bethune.
Replacements: 16 Lucas Da Silva, 17 Moses Alo-Emile, 18 Paul Alo Emile, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Loic Godener, 21 William Percillier, 22 Léo Barre, 23 Adrien Lapegue.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: David Rose (England)