Captain 'forgot' the score

Sat, 27 Apr 2013 12:44
Sergio-parisse-stade Perpignan-v-stade-francais3 Perpignan-v-stade-francais2 Perpigan-v-stade-francais
It will be a special moment

Stade Francais skipper Sergio Parisse admitted he wasn't sure what the score was when match-winning fullback Jerome Porical opted to shoot for goal from almost 60 metres.

The Paris club snatched a dramatic 25-22 Challenge Cup win at Stade Aime Giral to claim their second European final in three years.

The two men seemed to get into an on pitch row shortly after Porical had told the referee he wanted to kick for goal from well inside his own half with Perpignan three points ahead with seven minutes left on the clock.

It seemed a forlorn hope even for a man who had landed five out of his six kicks up to that point, but he levelled the scores at 22-22 with a magnificent effort that sailed over the posts. Minutes later he won the game with a 50 metre effort that went over off an upright and the cross-bar.

"Jerome Porical had a really great match and every kick was important because it was so close. I wasn't sure what the score was when he told the referee he wanted to kick for goal because I knew they had scored two tries to our one," admitted Parisse.

"We didn't play very well - and certainly not as well as we did in Bath. We missed a lot of opportunities, especially in the first half, but we're happy to be going to Dublin.

"We were a bit unlucky in the final against Harlequins a few years ago and that defeat is still in our minds. We have worked hard to reach another final, but we will enjoy this win first before we start thinking about Dublin.

"We will watch the game between Leinster and Biarritz Olympique and it would be strange to play Biarritz in the final. They certainly have the experience to do well and it is going to be a very exciting match."

It was an emotional homecoming for Porical, who ended with 20 points on the match on his return to his home town team, as he kicked his new team into their second Challenge Cup final in three seasons - and ended the dreams of his former team mates.

Stade have played in two European Cup finals in the past and have yet to win on the big day. Will Dublin, on Friday, 17 May, be fourth time lucky.

* Meanwhile Stade Francais coach Christophe Laussucq believes it will be a "special moment" to play in the Challenge Cup Final in Dublin on Friday, 17 May, following victory over Perpignan.

Laussucq said: "This was a great result for us and it is going to be a special moment for us to play in another European final.

"We know it will be tough, whoever we play in the final, but we will go to Dublin determined to become the first Stade team to win a European title."

Jerome Porical scored 20 points after David Lyons had claimed the other try as Stade recovered from conceding two first-half tries.

Laussucq said: "We knew what a big challenge it would be to play Perpignan in their home stadium but our defence was strong and we took our chances to score when they came.

"It was not a beautiful game but we showed how much we wanted to win.

"Perhaps we were lucky only to be four points behind at half-time but we were strong in the second half and played very smart rugby in the last ten minutes."

James Hook looked to have guided Perpignan to their first European final since 1999 but Porical kicked two late penalties, including the winner that deflected off both the post and crossbar.

Laussucq said: "I'm very happy for him [Porical]. This was a big game for him to come back to Perpignan but it could not have gone better. He scored a wonderful try, kicked the winning points and was man of the match even with the crowd whistling at him."