Toulon’s fantastic run of success came to a sudden halt as Stade Francais knocked them out of the Top 14 with a 33-16 Semi Final victory this past weekend. Leading from the front was Sergio Parisse, who produced a sensational pass for their first try of the game.
Stade Francais upset the script as they stunned the defending French and European Champions, scoring three tries to the solitary effort of the men in red. They will face Clermont, who beat Toulouse 18-14, in the final this coming weekend.
It was actually the third time that Stade have beaten Toulon this season, the latter having topped the table, but it was a sad farewell for those veterans that will be hanging up their boots, namely Bakkies Botha, Ali Williams and Carl Hayman.
Chris Masoe, who bleached his hair in honour of Jerry Collins, is also moving on.
The try of the match was all about the Italian maestro though, as Parisse got the ball out wide and instead of having a go, realised two players were closing him down, so instinct took over.
The behind the back inside flick for Raphaël Lakafia was perfectly executed, and beautiful to watch, with inspirational Parisse at his skillful best.
As he said in the recent video we featured on The Art of Number Eight, “I don’t think I have the number eight on my jersey.. I just try to play rugby, play the situation.”
Drew Mitchell and Antoine Burban both scored excellent tries, before Mitchell handed Julien Dupuy a gift that somewhat boosted the final score. View the match highlights