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25th Aug 2018

Paddy Jackson’s Perpignan hammered by Stade Francais on Top 14 debut

Patrick McCarry

Welcome back to the big leagues.

Perpignan had a decent pre-season after their promotion to the Top 14 but their first league game of the season saw them shredded by Stade Francais. Paddy Jackson contributed eight points but his new side were soundly beaten.

Stade, who have Paul O’Connell and Mike Prendergast on their coaching staff, annihilated Perpignan on their home turf – Stade Aimé Giral – and the contest was effectively over by half-time.

Sekou Macalou scored a first-half brace and there were further tries from Kylan Hamdaoui and Waisea Vuidravuwalu – along with three conversions and a penalty from Morné Steyn – left it 29-3 at the break.

Perpignan’s solitary score came from the boot of former Ulster outhalf Jackson, who was making his competitive debut.

Jusr before the break, however, the hosts saw a glimmer of light after Stade captain Sergio Parisse was red-carded. Video replays saw the Italian back-row fling his elbow carelessly and he was given his marching orders.

That glimmer became a full-on crack when Jackson sauntered in down the blindside of a Perpignan scrum to score his first try for the club.

He missed his conversion but Perpignan were soon awarded a penalty try and the deficit was 29-15. That was as good as it got.

Hamdaoui added his second try of the game to snuff out the Perpignan comeback before a Piet van Zyl try and a Jules Plisson penalty made it 46-15. Jackson was poor with a few tackle attempts, getting easily fended off too often, but he was not the only player to suffer against a wired in Stade.

A resounding win for the Parisians and a good start for O’Connell and Prendergast (forwards and backs coach) at their new club.