Munster stun Stade with impressive win

CJ Stander (Getty Images)
CJ Stander (Getty Images)

Paris - Irish province Munster severely dented the hopes of Stade Francais of reaching the European Champions Cup quarter-finals with a 26-13 home win over the French champions on Saturday.

The bonus point win was just their second success of the pool stages and leaves them in third place with 10 points.

Stade were left stranded on 14 points, four behind Leicester who were expected to pick up maximum points later Saturday at home to Treviso and clinch qualification.

The French side would then have to defeat Leicester in Paris in the final pool game to have any chance of advancing as one of the best runner-up teams.

Munster had the best of a physical first half at Thomond Park, scoring two tries to nil as Stade Francais struggled to compete.

The first came after 32 minutes when hooker Mike Sherry powered over after an impressive driving line-out, while the second was a solo effort from centre Keith Earls on the stroke of half-time, bursting through a gap in the Stade ranks from the halfway line and sliding in under a late tackle.

The French had only two Morne Steyn penalties to show for their efforts as Munster turned with a 12-6 lead and things went from bad to worse for the visitors one minute into the second half.

Flyhalf Ian Keatley was the architect sending through an inch-perfect chip for winger Simon Zebo to collect and score between the posts.

Stade were guilty of squandering several good scoring opportunities due to turnovers, but they got themselves back into the game with 17 minutes to go.

There looked to be little danger to the home side before an overthrown line-out in their own half was gobbled up by flank Jonjo Jones who thundered in under the posts from 25 yards out.

The door was briefly open for Stade but three minutes later it shut again as the Munster pack bossed their way forward and South African flank and club skipper CJ Stander muscled his way over after Connor Murray took a quick tap.

The French side went out in search of a second try that would have given them a defensive bonus point but they came up short.

In Saturday's other early game Bordeaux edged Exeter 34-27 in a Pool 2 thriller.

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