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London Irish and Stade Français Paris meet on Saturday at the Madejski Stadium, with both sides needing a victory in order to catch European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 4 runaway leaders Edinburgh Rugby. London Irish have lost each of their last two home Challenge Cup games for the first time since losing three consecutive matches in 1996 and 1997.
· London Irish have won three of the last four meetings between the clubs, including a 37-point victory in Round 2 this season, Stade Français’ heaviest defeat in the Challenge Cup.
· Stade Français have lost their last three games in England, this after winning six of seven matches away to Aviva Premiership opposition before that (L1).
· Stade Français have averaged more carries than any other side this season (164) and as a result have spent more time in possession than any other team (21m 36s).
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Stade Français Paris kept their faint hopes of reaching the European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-finals alive with a 26-20 victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
- Despite claiming a bonus-point success in Reading, Stade Français Paris are still eight points behind Pool 4 runaway leaders Edinburgh Rugby, who are yet to lose with two rounds of the group stages left to play.
- Stade Français Paris winger Romain Martial tore away to break the deadlock on 16 minutes, but Scott Steele raced home for London Irish 10 minutes later and the hosts would go on to add a penalty via the boot of Greig Tonks as they took a 10-5 lead into the break.
- The Exiles enhanced their advantage shortly after the restart as they were awarded a penalty try, but Stade Français Paris hit back through a Heinke van der Merwe try and former London Irish fly-half Shane Geraghty's conversion brought the visitors within three points.
- Waisea Nayacalevu's crossed in a third Stade Français Paris try 14 minutes from time as the Top 14 side regained the lead, but a Tonks penalty made it a one-point game in favour of the tourists with two minutes to play.
- Stade Français Paris full-back Tony Ensor ensured victory and what could prove to be a crucial bonus-point for the French outfit in overtime, leaving London Irish with a lone losing bonus point to show for their efforts.
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