European Challenge Cup: Ospreys 21-25 Stade Francais

Stade Francais flanker Antoine Burban celebrates his team's win over Ospreys in Cardiff
Stade Francais flanker Antoine Burban celebrates his team's win over Ospreys in Cardiff
European Challenge Cup
Ospreys (6) 21
Tries: Matavesi, Adron Cons: Biggar 2 Pens: Biggar 3
Stade Francais (8) 25
Tries: Zhvania, Lakafia, Arias Cons: Plisson 2 Pens: Plisson 2

Fourteen-man Stade Francais claimed a remarkable win over Ospreys to earn a European Challenge Cup semi-final at home against Bath.

Wing Josaia Raisuqe was sent-off after receiving a second yellow card with 28 minutes remaining.

But quick tries by Raphael Lakafia and Julien Aria saw the French team open an 11-point lead.

Tyler Ardron's touchdown four-minutes from time gave Ospreys hope, but Stade survived a tense finish in Cardiff.

The French side had led at half-time after prop Zurabi Zhvania's try had come during Raisuge's time in the sin-bin.

Josh Matavesi's try early in the second half and a second Dan Biggar penalty after the Fijian wing's second yellow card offence saw Ospreys briefly in the lead by 14-11.

But a lack of composure and abject failure to exploit the extra man was the Welsh region's undoing.

Referee Matthew Carley shows a red card to Stade Francais wing Josaia Raisuqe
Referee Matthew Carley shows a red card to Stade Francais wing Josaia Raisuqe

Raisuqe was fortunate to be on the pitch long enough to receive a second yellow card, after being sent to the sin-bin for a stamp on his opposite number Keelan Giles in the first half.

But within two minutes of his eventual dismissal for the lesser crime of being offside at a ruck, Stade were ahead.

Jules Plisson's cross-field kick found Lakafia unmarked wide on the left wing to gather and touch down.

And when second row Hugh Pyle intercepted Sam Davies' pass he found Arias on his shoulder to score at the posts and the French side were 11 points to the good.

Ospreys will reflect on a try by Biggar early in the first half which was ruled out for a forward pass, but a creaking scrummage and cool-headed performances from Stade's Sergio Parisse and Will Genia saw them come up short.

It was Stade's first win away from home this season.

Ospreys' defeat means there are no Welsh teams left in either of Europe's knockout tournaments, while Bath face a tricky trip to France for their semi-final.

Ospreys coach Steve Tandy: "I think we probably deserved to win the game in large aspects but ultimately we've paid for some inaccuracies, not finishing off opportunities and a little bit of ill-discipline in the first half,

"At the back end I think there was enough time and opportunities to chase the game down but ultimately we weren't accurate enough and probably forced one or two things that we probably didn't need to."

Ospreys: Sam Davies; Keelan Giles, Ashley Beck, Josh Matavesi, Dan Evans; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Brian Mujati, Lloyd Ashley, Rory Thornton, Sam Underhill, Justin Tipuric, Dan Baker.

Replacements: Scott Otten, Paul James, Ma'afu Fia, Tyler Ardron, James King, Olly Cracknell, Kieron Fonotia, Tom Habberfield

Stade Francais: Hugo Bonneval; Julien Arias, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Jonathan Danty Josaia Raisuqe; Jules Plisson, Will Genia; Zurabi Zhvania, Laurent Sempéré, Rabah Slimani, Hugh Pyle, Paul Gabrillagues, Antoine Burban, Sylvain Nicolas, Serge Parisse.

Replacements: Laurent Panis, Aled De Malmanche, Paul Alo Emile, Pascal Papé, Raphael Lakafia, Julien Dupuy, Morné Steyn, Herman Meyer Bosman.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)

Touch Judges: Tim Wigglesworth (England) and Peter Allan (England)

TMO: Sean Davey (England)

Citing Commissioner: Alberto Recaldini (Italy)

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