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The Emirates Lions will be looking for their first win of the EPCR Challenge Cup as they welcome Stade Français Paris on Friday.
The Parisians made a winning start to their campaign, beating Benetton Rugby 24-14 – but they have less luck on the road, with only one win in their last eight away matches.
The Lions were at home last week too, drawing 31-31 against Welsh region Dragons.
The Pool B encounter kicks off at 17:30 (UK and Irish time) on Friday at the Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg, and is available to watch on SuperSport, beIN SPORTS, Viaplay-Premier Sports and FloRugby.
Lions assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher: “We won’t be able to afford [mistakes] against Stade Francais because they will punish us. We will have to be physical.”
🔥 Freeee Running Flanker 🔥
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) December 12, 2022
- The Lions won 93 per cent of lineouts on their own throw against Dragons – the highest success rate in Round 1.
- 58 per cent of their tackles were below the waist – a round high.
- Emmanuel Tshituka made nine dominant carry contacts in Round 1 – more than any other player. In fact, 55 per cent of the Lions’ carries against the Dragons were dominant – the highest percecntage of the round.
Stade Français Paris
- Stade Français Paris made more maul metres than any other team in Round 1 (44).
- They have only won one of their last eight away matches in all competitions.
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Wing Quan Horn crossed for a try double as Emirates Lions produced a strong display to beat Stade Français Paris 30-12 in the EPCR Challenge Cup on Friday night.
Andries Coetzee and Ruan Smith also went over for the hosts in Johannesburg, with Jordan Hendrikse adding 10 points from the tee as they remain undefeated in Pool B.
Stade Français were no pushovers in a particularly physical contest and dotted down for tries through James Hall and Léo Barre, but they were unable to make it two wins from two in this season’s competition.
Emirates Lions enjoyed a fruitful first half, with fly-half Hendrikse nudging an early penalty before his excellent flat pass put Horn over in the corner for his first score on 17 minutes.
And after another Hendrikse penalty extended their advantage, more slick handling from the hosts saw Horn dot down again on 27 minutes.
Dummy lines & skip passes for a @LionsRugbyCo try in the corner 👌
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) December 16, 2022
However, Stade Français ended the half on top and scrum-half Hall eventually found a way over the whitewash courtesy of a clever dummy five metres out.
The game was as physical as ever following the restart, but it wouldn’t be until the hour mark when further points were scored – Emirates Lions produced more fantastic rugby to release full-back Coetzee, replacement centre Rynhardt Jonker creating the score with a surge through midfield.
Fly-half Barre finished well on 70 minutes to give Stade Français faint hope of late comeback, but replacement prop Smith powered over moments later to wrap up Emirates Lions’ win and secure the bonus point for his side.
Emirates Lions and Stade Français go head-to-head again in Round 3, with the South African side travelling to Stade Jean Bouin on January 14.