Challenge Cup: Newcastle Falcons 30-23 Stade Francais

Chris Harris
Newcastle's Chris Harris is dual registered with Championship side Rotherham
Newcastle Falcons 30 (14)
Tries: Harris, Hammersley, Robinson, Cato Cons: Catterick 2 Pens: Catterick 2
Stade Francais 23 (9)
Tries: Inu, Tomas Cons: Steyn 2 Pens: Steyn 3

A much-changed Newcastle hung on to beat Stade Francais and keep their 100% European Challenge Cup record intact.

Tries from Chris Harris and Simon Hammersley put Falcons 14-9 up at the break, with Morne Steyn kicking all of the visitors' points.

A Julien Tomas try edged the French side ahead, only for Tom Catterick to kick Falcons back into the lead.

Sean Robinson and Noah Cato efforts either side of a Krisnan Inu try for Stade helped seal the bonus-point win.

Stade were punished for their poor discipline, with all of Newcastle's second-half points coming against 14 men after two sin-binnings.

With a focus on the Premiership, Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards made 13 changes from the side that went down to Sale five days earlier.

Catterick, who came in at fly-half, failed to kick two presentable penalties either side of Steyn's three-pointer on nine minutes.

Harris raced away for the game's opening try minutes after coming up with a crucial intervention at the other end, beating the French side's former New Zealand rugby league World Cup winner Inu to a chip-kick.

Krisnan Inu (l) tackled by Chris Harris
Krisnan Inu won the rugby league World Cup with New Zealand in 2008

The Falcons centre then displayed great speed and strength to race away for the game's first try, fending off two attempted tackles before crossing.

While Steyn hit-back for the Parisians with his second penalty of the night, Catterick and Alex Tait combined to send Hammersley over in the corner before the half hour.

Steyn, who made it three-from-three from the tee to reduce the margin to five points at the break, put the visitors ahead early in the second half, converting a try that he helped create.

The South African gathered his own kick over Newcastle's defence and, after Stade turned the ball over Tomas took advantage of the confusion and field position to intercept a pass and score in the corner.

A sin-binning for the visitors followed soon after, with Jonathan Ross yellow carded for a dangerous tackle.

Catterick restored Falcons' lead with his first successful penalty a minute later, and the hosts capitalised further on their one-man advantage with Robinson charging over.

Styne then booted Stade in front again, adding the extras after Inu crossed for the visitors.

But Catterick again punished the visitors for their indiscipline, slotting the penalty that followed Paul Williams' sin-binning to put the hosts 25-23 up with 14 minutes remaining.

Cato secured the win when he went in for Falcons' fourth try soon after.

Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Tait, Powell (capt), Harris, Cato; Catterick, Fury; Fry, McGuigan, Brookes; Thompson, MacLeod; Robinson, Temm, York.

Replacements: Vickers, Rogers, Irving, Barrow, Morris, Tipuna, Clegg, Penny.

Stade Francais: Williams; Sinzelle, Bosman, Inu, Ioane; Steyn, Tomas; Botta, De Malmanche, Kubriashvili; Gabrillagues, Mostert; Garrault, Rabadan (capt), Ross.

Replacements: Zhvania, Frou, Oleon, Nibert, Ugena, Fillol, Mallet, Dumas.

Sin bin: Ross (42), Williams (65)

Attendance: 4,300

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

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