Heineken Champions Cup: Connacht 36-9 Stade Francais

John Porch
Connacht winger John Porch scored the second of the hosts' six tries
Heineken Champions Cup: Pool B
Connacht (19) 36
Tries: Blade, Porch, Wootton, Masterson, Kilgallen, Prendergast Cons: Carty 3
Stade Francais (6) 9
Pens: Sanchez 3

Connacht ended their losing run in Europe with an impressive bonus-point victory over Stade Francais in their Heineken Champions Cup opener.

Caolin Blade opened the scoring before John Porch and Alex Wootton crossed the whitewash in the first half.

Eoghan Masterson secured the bonus point before Diarmuid Kilgallen and Cian Prendergast also scored.

The visitors never got going in Galway and were limited to just three Nicolas Sanchez penalties.

The Irish side had lost their past four games before welcoming Stade Francais to The Sportsground.

Blade powered over from close range to get the ball rolling before Sanchez reduced the deficit to bring Stade - who were making their first appearance in the competition since 2015/16 - to just a point.

But the influential Jack Carty first found Porch with a looping pass out wide for the hosts' second try.

Carty was involved again in the third when a similarly accurate pass eventually reached Wootton on the other side of the field.

A third assist for the fly-half followed the interval when he fed Masterson to secure the bonus point.

Kilgallen and Prendergast added a late flurry as the hosts ran out comfortable winners, and Carty also added three conversions to his immaculate distribution.

Connacht will travel to Welford Road to face Leicester Tigers, who beat Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday, in their next pool game.

'Really pleasing' - what they said

Connacht head coach Andy Friend said: "You can't but be pleased. A bonus point and six tries to nil.

"I think our captain, Jack Carty, had a huge role to play in that, as did Oisin Dowling, our lineout leader. I thought he was outstanding.

"We've got some really good depth. So, to have that 23 turn up today and do that to Stade is really pleasing."


Connacht: McNulty; Wootton, Bolton, Arnold, Porch; Carty, Blade; Burke, Delahunt, Robertson-McCoy, Dowling, Murray,Prendergast, Oliver, Butler

Replacements: Heffernan, Duggan, Aungier, E Masterson, S Masterson, Marmion, Fitzgerald, Kilgallen

Stade Francais: Veainu; Champ, Arrate, Barre, Etien; Sanchez, Hall; Bethune, Latu, Roelofse, De Giovanni, Van der Mescht, Kremer, Francoz, Gray

Replacements: Da Silva, M Alo Emile, P Alo Emile, Gabrillagues, Godener, Percillier, Wolf, Lapegue

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