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Stade Francais Paris will be looking to continue their immaculate record against Benetton Rugby when they launch the 2020/21 European Rugby Challenge Cup at Stade Jean Bouin in Paris on Friday (17:30 UK and Irish time).
The clubs’ fifth meeting in European competition and first in the Challenge Cup will be televised by beIN SPORTS and Sky Italia.
- Stade Francais and Benetton have met four times before with the TOP 14 side winning all four of those matches, all of which came in the Heineken Champions Cup, two pool games in 2001/02 and two in 2015/16.
- Stade have averaged 48 points per game in their four previous European fixtures against Benetton, their average winning margin in those games sitting at 36 points.
- 2017 champions Stade are one of only three previous winners of the Challenge Cup taking part in this year’s tournament. The others are Cardiff Blues (2010 and 2018), and Pau (2000).
- Stade’s final home game of the 2019/20 season was a 24-29 defeat to Zebre, their first ever loss to an Italian side in either European competition (W19).
- Benetton have won four of six away games against TOP 14 opponents in the Challenge Cup (L2), including their most recent such fixture (39-7 v Grenoble, January 2019).
- Benetton had the lowest tackle success rate (82%) of any side in the Heineken Champions Cup last season, missing an average 34 tackles per game.
- Of the players registered for this season, Benetton Rugby’s Ian Keatley has scored the most tournament points with 202, all while he was playing for Connacht Rugby.
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Benetton scored seven tries as they breezed past Stade Français at the Stade Jean Bouin to win 44-20 in the opening round of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
The game burst into life early on – an Arthur Coville penalty and a Charlie Francoz try for Stade Français either side of a Toa Halafihi score for Benetton had left the home side with a slender lead with just over ten minutes played.
But Benetton responded by registering 20 points in a ten-minute blitz, as Dewaldt Duvenage, Leonardo Sarto and Jayden Hayward all crossed the whitewash, with fly-half Tommy Allan slotting a penalty and one conversion.
#SFPvBEN 24' [8-25] Quarta meta dei Leoni messa a segno da Hayward. Allan non centra i pali pic.twitter.com/otC3zlST42
— Benetton Rugby 🦁 (@BenettonRugby) December 11, 2020
Both sides were reduced to 14 men at the start of the second half, as Stade Français flanker Charlie Rorke and Benetton wing Sarto were shown red cards following an altercation at the breakdown.
The tries continued to flow following the dismissals, with Laurent Panis and Adrien Lapegue scoring for Stade Français, while Allan, Federico Ruzza and Alberto Sgarbi crossed for Benetton as the Italian side romped to victory.
Stade Français travel to Cardiff Blues in Round 2 next weekend, while Benetton host Agen.
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