Fickou shines as Racing 92 beat rivals Stade Français
MATCH REPORT: EPCR European Player of the Year nominee Gaël Fickou was in fine form on Saturday as he dotted down in Racing 92’s 22-9 win over Parisian rivals Stade Français in the first leg of their Champions Cup Round of 16 encounter.
The French international scored the only try at Stade Jean-Bouin, with scrumhalf Nolann Le Garrec kicking the other 17 points for the visitors.
Penalties from Joris Segonds and Nicolas Sanchez saw Stade Français record only nine points in front of their home crowd, and now head into next weekend’s second leg at Paris La Defense Arena looking to reverse the 13-point deficit.
Racing 92 raced into a 12-0 lead after Le Garrec successfully kicked all four of his penalty attempts in the opening 40 minutes.
However, the visitors’ lead was halved going into the interval as Stade Français’ Segonds kicked two penalties of his own in the first half.
Le Garrec had the chance to extend his side’s advantage in the second half with his fifth penalty of the game, but ended up putting his effort wide of the posts.
Fickou then dotted down, as he battled with Segonds to force the ball over the line for Racing 92. Le Garrec improved Fickou’s score to extend Racing 92’s lead.
Things then went from bad to worse for Stade Français as they were reduced to 14 men when Tolu Latu was given a red card for a dangerous tackle on Baptiste Chouzenoux.
Second half replacement Sanchez came off the bench to kick a penalty for the hosts and had the chance to further reduce the gap to seven points, but hit the post with his second penalty attempt.
A fifth penalty from Le Garrec then followed to give his side a healthy lead ahead of the two sides’ meeting on April 17.
For Stade Francais:
Pens: Segonds 2, Sanchez
For Racing 92:
Con: Le Garrec
Pens: Le Garrec 5
Red card: Tolu Latu (Stade Francais, 66)
Stade Francais: 15 Léo Barre, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Harry Glover, 12 Alex Arrate, 11 Lester Etien, 10 Joris Segonds, 9 Arthur Coville, 8 Tala Gray, 7 Romain Briatte, 6 Sekou Macalou, 5 Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 4 Paul Gabrillagues (captain), 3 Nemo Roelofse, 2 Laurent Panis, 1 Clément Castets
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Charlie Francoz, 20 Loic Godener, 21 James Hall, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Kylan Hamdaoui
Racing 92: 15 Max Spring, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Henry Chavancy (captain), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Nolann Le Garrec, 8 Yoan Tanga, 7 Ibrahim Diallo, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Guram Gogichashvili
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Hassane Kolingar, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Boris Palu, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Antoine Gibert, 22 Olivier Klemenczak, 23 Louis Dupichot
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)