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Warriors off to flyer with Stade shock.

STADE FRANCAIS 27 WORCESTER 38 WORCESTER made a stunning start to the European Challenge Cup with their first win in 10 years on French soil at the Stade Jean Bouin.

Warriors rested the entire starting XV who beat Bristol but it was credit to those who took their places that there was no decrease in intensity against a side who are second in France's Top 14 competition.

Jules Plisson kicked Stade into an early lead but Warriors regrouped. Scrum-half Michael Heaney linked with Andrew Kitchener, Pierce Phillips and Ted Hill before Matt Cox went over for a try, which captain Jono Lance improved.

Stade responded with a wellworked try when full-back Kylan Hamdaoui went over with Plisson converting.

But Lance levelled with a well-struck penalty after 24 minutes and Warriors followed up with Tom Howe's first try when he arrived in support of a forward surge and dotted down from close range.

Lance added the conversion and Plisson pulled back three points with a penalty.

But Warriors silenced the home fans on the stroke of half-time when they launched a stunning counter-attack after Stade turned over possession in their own half.

Star-man Ollie Lawrence made the initial break and his deft pass to Howe left the wing with space to sprint over.

Lance added a difficult conversion to open up an 11-point lead at the break.

Warriors soaked up early second-half pressure then struck. Lawrence again proved the catalyst for the bonuspoint try when he broke a tackle, Heaney provided the link and Hill had the strength to reach the line, Lance converting.

Stade hit back with a closerange try from replacement hooker Laurent Panis, which Morne Steyn converted. But Warriors were not to be denied and superb interplay between Lance and Hill set up Jamie Shillcock for a try within three minutes of coming on.

Stade scored a third try when Piet van Zyl went over six minutes from time and Steyn converted but Warriors denied them a bonus point. The one blemish was the departure of centre Ashley Beck after just three minutes with a fractured leg.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 15, 2018
Words:349
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