Title dream over for McKenzie and Gaz - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Title dream over for McKenzie and Gaz

31/05/2009 11:37:28 AM Comments (0)

Australians Ewen McKenzie and Mark Gasnier had their French Top 14 rugby title dream shattered as Perpignan beat Stade Francais 25-21 in their semi-final.

The victory means Perpignan will meet Clermont in next week's final after Australian five eighth Brock James lifted Clermont to victory with a virtuoso display in the other semi-final against Toulouse.

Perpignan outscored Parisian team Stade three tries to two, with fullback Jerome Porical claiming 15 points for the Catalans, who have not won the French championships since 1955.

Stade coach McKenzie, chasing a second consecutive final after guiding the NSW Waratahs to last year's Super 14 decider, was left to rue a lack of dominance by his charges.

"We lost the match tactically," McKenzie said.

"We failed to occupy space. We passed to two or three phases and scored two tries.

"But it's tough to organise the game if you can't find the spaces."

Porical opened the scoring in the seventh minute after Pascal Pape fouled at a ruck in front of the posts.

Lionel Beauxis equalised the score five minutes later with a drop-goal but the Catalans turned the screw and Porical benefited from an error by the linesman to score the game's first try.

Winger Julien Candelon sidestepped his way past stricken Australian back Gasnier but a stray foot into touch went unnoticed, allowing Porical to touch down under the posts for a five-pointer he also converted.

Beauxis and Porical then traded penalties to make it 13-6 to the Catalan club at half-time.

Perpignan opened the second-half just as they wanted, winger Maxime Mermoz grounding a delicate chip by South African Gavin Hume.

Stade Francais hit back within two minutes, however, Beauxis scooting in at the corner. Beauxis, playing at fullback, missed the conversion but redeemed that with a second penalty.

The lively Mermoz then split the Stade defence and passed to David Marty who put Julien Candelon away for Perpignan's third try.

The Parisian club did not lie down, however, and replacement Sergio Parisse bulldozed his way over from short range after a smart Brian Liebenberg offload.

Beauxis was successful with the conversion to draw the Parisians to within four points with 10 minutes to play but the Catalans held firm.

Perpignan and Clermont will meet in the final to be held at Stade de France on June 6.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news