Jerome Porical inspired Stade Francais to a 25-22 victory over former team Perpignan in the first Amlin Challenge Cup Semi Final. He had a difference of opinion with captain Sergio Parisse late in the game, but he got it right and guided his team to victory.
Porical returned to the Stade Aime Giral to haunt his home town club, scoring 20 points with the boot, including two long-range penalties late in the game, and a great run that set up a nicely taken try for former Wallaby David Lyons.
In the last ten minutes, with the Parisians trailing, Porical opted to attempt a 57m penalty kick at goal, much to the astonishment of captain Sergio Parisse. The Italian captain later admitted that he didn’t quite realise what the score was.
“Jerome Porical had a really great match and every kick was important because it was so close,” said skipper Parisse. “I wasn’t sure what the score was when he told the referee he wanted to kick for goal because I knew they had scored two tries to our one.
Porical justified his decision to go for the kick as he slotted it with ease, and then a few minutes later kicked another long-range effort that bounced first off the side of the post, then hit the crossbar before going over for the win.
It was an emotional night for Porical, whose grandfather and father both played for Perpignan before he went on to make over 100 appearances for the club. He made the switch to Stade Francais at the start of this season.
“I’m very happy for him. This was a big game for him to come back to Perpignan but it could not have gone better,” said coach Stade Francais Christophe Laussucq.
“He kicked the winning points and was man of the match, even with the crowd whistling at him.”
Stade Francais will play Leinster in the Final of the Amlin Challenge Cup in Dublin on May 17th.