'Mission accomplished' as moneybags Stade Francais stop rot

Paris (AFP) –


Stade Francais, the under-performing financial heavyweights of the French Top 14, won a second successive match for the first time this season on Saturday.

A narrow 23-22 win at fellow strugglers Perpignan left forwards coach Laurent Sempere describing the knife-edge triumph as "mission accomplished".

Stade, who are reported to be bankrolled to the tune of just under 40 million euros this season, were indebted to international flanker Sekou Macalou who scored two tries.

It was a timely performance by the backrow forward with France due to announce their squad for the autumn Tests next week.

Stade will also be buoyed by not being made to pay too heavily for having Argentine forward Marcos Kremer yellow-carded for dangerous play.

"Mission accomplished," said Sempere. "We came to get the points and we leave with four.

"But we also leave with work to do. We know that we are not there yet."

La Rochelle, runners-up in the Top 14 and European Champions Cup last season, are also finding their feet after a poor start.

On Saturday, they squeezed past Brive 8-6 with winger Arthur Retiere scoring the only try of the game.

It was La Rochelle's first away win of the season.

"It was a very tough game, against a good defence," said La Rochelle centre Jonathan Danty.

"There is still work to be done, we are far from our best level. But we can say that our season is underway."

Bordeaux-Begles stayed second with a 37-33 win at Pau.

Matthieu Jalibert scored two tries with Ulupano Seuteni and Romain Buros also on the scoresheet.

In other early games, rock-bottom Biarritz were beaten 38-20 by Castres while Clermont edged Montpellier 22-20.