Rugby Union: Stade put strike behind them with Toulon win

Omnisport
Stade Francais put their off-field drama behind them by showing great character to defeat Toulon and move 11 points clear of the drop zone.

Stade put strike behind them with Toulon win

Stade Francais put their off-field drama behind them by showing great character to defeat Toulon and move 11 points clear of the drop zone.

Stade Francais showed they have the stomach for a relegation fight by beating Toulon 17-11 in their first game since a player strike, while Brive snatched a 28-25 Top 14 win over Montpellier.

Gonzalo Quesada praised the unity of his Stade players after they downed tools following a sensational announcement that the club planned to merge with Racing 92.

A proposal to join forces with their Paris rivals was soon scrapped and Stade turned their attention back to their bid to avoid the drop, claiming a tense win in a contest which included six yellow cards to go 11 points clear of second-bottom Grenoble.

Both sides had three players sent to the bin, the first of which was Toulon wing Bryan Habana, on a night in which the three-time European champions - who started with Guilhem Guirado and Ma'a Nonu on the bench - were unable to claim their first away victory since last October.

Four Jules Plisson penalties put Stade 12-3 up at half-time and they had a 14-point advantage when Waisea Nayacalevu charged over for the opening try eight minutes into the second half.

Toulon's powerhouse centre Mathieu Bastareaud ploughed his way over for a try which Francois Trinh-Duc converted midway through the second half, but Stade saw out a much-needed win to spark jubilant scenes.

Third-placed Montpellier slipped up, with a last-gasp try from Sevanaia Galala giving Brive a dramatic win.

Brive were also indebted to Gaetan Germain, who scored 23 points with the boot to deny Montpellier after a Bismarck du Plessis try - the visitors' third of the match - five minutes from time looked set to be decisive. 

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