European Challenge Cup: Stade Francais 17-10 Edinburgh

By Jamie LyallBBC Scotland
Junior Rasolea and Damien Hoyland
Damien Hoyland scored the first of Edinburgh's two tries
European Challenge Cup
Stade Francais (12) 17
Tries: Alo-Emile, Danty, Parisse Con: Geraghty
Edinburgh (0) 10
Tries: Hoyland, Fife

Edinburgh will host Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals after being beaten by Stade Francais in their final pool match.

Richard Cockerill's men were already guaranteed a home quarter before their reverse to the holders, who qualify as one of the three best pool runners-up.

Paul Alo-Emile and Jonathan Danty crossed in the first eight minutes.

Damien Hoyland and Dougie Fife scored second-half tries for Edinburgh, either side of Sergio Parisse's effort.

Stade will face a trip to fellow Top 14 side Pau in the last eight, with the matches taking place on the weekend of 29 March.

Edinburgh will utilise Murrayfield, rather than 5,500-capacity Myreside, for the visit of the Blues.

This fixture was a chance for Cockerill to pitch in some of his younger, greener troops, against a pack of brutes, on the rutted gluepot Stade Jean Bouin pitch.

Predictably, they struggled up front in the early tussles. Pulverised in the close-quarter skirmishes, Edinburgh's attacking possession was slow and confused.

By contrast, Stade's supremacy in the collisions allowed them to attack with far greater dynamism, and potency, than the visitors could muster.

Twenty-year-old full-back Darcy Graham conceded an early penalty, and from the resultant line-out, Cammy Fenton, the hooker, was wrong-footed on his own 22.

Danty broke the line, and a few phases later Alo-Emile burrowed home for the fourth-minute opener.

Shane Geraghty converted, and was soon dinking the ball into swathes of unguarded Edinburgh territory for Danty to ground.

The rest of the first half was dire. Geraghty and Jaco van der Walt both missed penalties.

And when Edinburgh finally generated some go-forward with the clock red, Cornell du Preez and Magnus Bradbury driving them into the Stade 22, Mark Bennett was wrapped up, rumbled backwards and turned over.

After the interval, smart tactical kicking from Van der Walt provided Edinburgh with the field position they'd failed to seize in the opening half.

The introduction of hulking Viliame Mata was a filip too, the Fijian's ballast propelling Edinburgh closer and closer to the whitewash.

It was good, varied phase play, and it culminated in Hoyland throwing a dummy, and exploding past Alo-Emile's attempted tackle to score, Van der Walt missing the conversion.

But a third Stade try threatened to quell Edinburgh's revival.

The peerless Sergio Parisse, the Italian great off the bench to steer his side home, strode and scrapped his way to the line after a searing burst from Djibril Camara.

It seemed Stade would seal the bonus point, and their place in the last eight, soon after, when the Parisians pummelled away at the Edinburgh line for several minutes.

But a phenomenal defensive set from the Scots kept them at bay, and up the other end, Mark Bennett grubbered delicately through for replacement Fife to plunge on the ball, ensuring Edinburgh finished with a losing bonus point.

It was a bruising evening's work, but Edinburgh did not wilt, and Cockerill will have learned plenty about the mettle of his emerging crop.

Stade Francais: T Ensor, J Arias, W Vuidarvuwalu, J Danty, D Camara, S Geraghty, C McLeod; Z Zhvania, L Panis, P Alo- Emile, P Gabrillagues, A Flanquart (capt), M de Giovanni, M Ugena, S Macalou.

Replacements: C Burden, H van der Merwe, G Melikidze, S Cerqueira, S Parisse, A Coville, P Williams, J Yobo.

Edinburgh: D Graham, D Hoyland, M Bennett, J Rasolea, D van der Merwe, J van der Walt, N Fowles; R Sutherland, C Fenton, M McCallum, F McKenzie (capt), L Carmichael, M Bradbury, J Ritchie, C Du Preez.

Replacements: N Cochrane, K Bryce, M Shields, G Gilchrist, V Mata, S Hidalgo-Clyne, J Johnstone, D Fife.