European Challenge Cup final: Gloucester 17-25 Stade Francais

Stade Francais celebrate at Murrayfield
Stade Francais had lost all four of their previous European finals before beating Gloucester at Murrayfield
European Challenge Cup final
Gloucester (10) 17
Tries: May, Moriarty Cons: Burns, Laidlaw Pen: Burns
Stade Francais (10) 25
Tries: Parisse, Danty, Doumayrou Cons: Plisson, Steyn Pens: Plisson, Steyn

Top 14 side Stade Francais came from 10-0 down to beat Gloucester and win the European Challenge Cup.

England wing Jonny May's try put Gloucester, who needed to win to keep their Champions Cup qualification hopes alive, ahead at a rainy Murrayfield.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse then crossed to make it 10-10 at the break.

Jonathan Danty and Geoffrey Doumayrou touched down as the French team dominated after half-time, before Ross Moriarty scored a late consolation.

Stade Francais had reached European finals four times without success prior to Friday's Edinburgh showpiece, but were deserved victors against an error-strewn Gloucester side.

The result also means the Cherry and Whites miss out on the chance to compete for a spot in next season's Champions Cup.

The 20th and final place for the 2017-18 competition is to be decided by a series of play-off matches, with Northampton set to be replaced in the semi-finals had Gloucester won the Challenge Cup.

But the Saints, who finished seventh in the Premiership, will now play Connacht next Saturday, with a play-off final to follow against either Stade Francais or Cardiff Blues.

Laidlaw's last Gloucester outing ends in defeat

Jonny May and Greig Laidlaw
Greig Laidlaw (right) was drafted into the British and Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand after Ben Youngs' withdrawal

Defeat for the Cherry and Whites at Murrayfield also means Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw's Gloucester career ends in disappointment, with the 31-year-old scrum-half due to join Clermont Auvergne in the summer.

Laidlaw, who moved to Kingsholm in 2014, was not introduced until the second half having spent the past two months on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage - but could make little impact with the Gloucester pack often demolished at scrum time.

The English side had done well to negotiate a tricky 10-minute spell before the break with Willi Heinz in the sin bin, but came up well short against an impressive and powerful Stade Francais unit in the second period.

Doumayrou's try was the highlight of the final, dancing through three Gloucester tacklers to confirm his team's superiority and set up an historic victory for a club who finished seventh in the Top 14 this year.

'It's been a disappointing season - but we're not far away'

"I'm obviously very disappointed," Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys told BBC Radio 5 live. "But it's most disappointing that we didn't really test Stade Francais in the way that we planned.

"Credit to them, they negated everything we did. We couldn't win the ball, we couldn't hold the ball and because of that they won comfortably.

"We gave away penalty after penalty at the set-piece and to compete against the top teams you can't do that.

"We haven't hidden behind the fact it's been a disappointing season. We know we're not far away, we've shown that with our performances."

Gloucester: Marshall; Sharples, Scott, Atkinson, May; Burns, Heinz (capt); Hohneck, Hibbard, Afoa; Savage, Thrush; Moriarty, Ludlow, Morgan.

Replacements: Dawidiuk, Thomas, McAllister, Galarza, Clarke, Laidlaw, Twelvetrees, Trinder.

Stade Francais: Bonneval; Vuidarvuwalu, Doumayrou, Danty, Camara; Plisson, Genia; Van der Merwe, Bonfils, Slimani, Pyle, Gabrillagues, Burban, Ross, Parisse (capt).

Replacements: Panis, Zhvania, Alo Emile, Alberts, Lakafia, Dupuy, Steyn, Sinzelle.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland).

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