2017 EPCR Challenge Cup winners Stade Français Paris relied on a stunning second-half showing to overcome a resilient Benetton Rugby 24-14 at the Stade Jean-Bouin on Friday evening.

Trailing 9-3 at the interval, the hosts were spurred on by a sensational solo effort from wing Nadir Megdoud before Jeremy Ward and Lester Etien consolidated the victory.

Benetton had moments of their own, fly-half Jacob Umaga notching three penalties from the tee before Siua Maile notched a second half try for the visitors, but the hosts proved too strong in the end.

In a turgid first period, it was the visitors who controlled the scoreboard with three penalties from the boot of Umaga, Léo Barré adding a solo penalty for the hosts.

The game turned ten minutes into the second half when a Benetton kick found the hands of Megdoud in his own half. The wing lofted the ball over the Italians’ defensive line, catching his own kick and dissecting two would-be tacklers to dot down under the posts.

Benetton re-took the lead on the hour mark on the back of a rolling maul from a well-won lineout, hooker Maile powering over from close range to put the visitors up 14-10.

But the lead lasted a mere three minutes as centre Ward broke down the right flank to touch down in the corner, Barré, for the second time, adding the extras.

Wing Etien punctuated the victory in the final minute of the contest, touching down in the left corner to complete the victory, Barré again perfect from the tee.

Stade Français face a trip to South Africa to take on Emirates Lions in the second round of action next Friday evening, while Benetton look to rebound when they visit Aviron Bayonnais next Saturday.