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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Russian side topple Stade Français to cause major Challenge Cup upset

Krasny Yar produced perhaps one of the biggest upsets in European Challenge Cup history as they beat defending champions Stade Français 34-29 in Siberia.

The Russian side, making their debut in this year's competition after winning their Continental Shield play-off match against Romanian outfit Timisoara Saracens, trailed their French counterparts 12-5 early on but fought back superbly to claim a famous win.

The match was full of tries - seven in total during a crazy first half which Krasny Yar ended 24-17 ahead - and showcased some of the talent on offer in the Russian line-up.

Julien Arias' fifth minute try was quickly cancelled out by Azamat Bitiev's effort after nine minutes. Then Anthony Ensors' try was followed by another repost, this time from Man-of-the-Match Viktor Gresev's first of two scores.

Sione Fukofuka and Andrei Mahu each crossed the line in between Terry Bouhraoua's try for Stade as the teams headed into the changing rooms for the break.

Somehow, you thought Stade Français would find a way to win the match, but as we have seen in recent years, the Parisian side has developed quite a reputation for falling victim to occassional (embarrassing) defeats to lesser known outfits.

Krasny Yar were keen not to let their chance slip and through Gresev's second try, they held a 10 point lead heading into the closing stages, despite Arias' completing his double after a sensational team-effort.

Stade replacement Karim Qadiri scored a late try three minutes from time to give the home crowd some serious concern. But the underdogs held firm and secured the unlikeliest of victories in their first competitive match in the championship.

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Posted by Stephen Brunsdon at 11:19 am | View Comments (2)

Posted in See it to Believe it

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