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Will Carpenter


Posted Friday, December 6th 2019

Preview: Stade Français (h) - European Challenge Cup

Bristol Bears welcome Stade Français to Ashton Gate on Saturday for round three of the European Challenge Cup pool stages (3pm KO GMT).

Pat Lam's men are sitting pretty at the top of Pool Four, with the Parisians in second place. The Bears have won both of their opening games with bonus points, beating both Brive and Zebre in emphatic style.

Stade fell to an 11-27 defeat at home to Brive in round one, before picking up their opening win in a 12-13 victory at Zebre.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the European Challenge Cup clash with Stade Français at Ashton Gate.

Match details:

  • Date: Saturday, December 7th
  • Kick-off: 3pm (UK time)
  • Competition: European Challenge Cup
  • Where: Ashton Gate
  • Referee: Dan Jones (Wales) Assistants: Adam Jones (Wales) & Kelvin Shorte (Wales).
  • Media coverage: BBC Radio Bristol 
  • Tickets: Tickets are available by clicking here. This game IS included in your Season Card.

Team news

Ian Madigan is set for his first competitive outing since September when Bristol Bears host Stade Français on Saturday (3pm KO).

The Ireland fly half is one of six changes to the side as Pat Lam’s men to continue their 100% record in the competition.

Sam Bedlow comes into the midfield, while Alapati Leiua makes his first competitive start of the campaign on the wing.

Siale Piutau (knee) will be sidelined for up to five months following an injury sustained in the draw with London Irish, while Dan Thomas (groin) is expected to be unavailable for five weeks.

In the pack, Jake Heenan recovers from an ankle injury to start in the back row and Dave Attwood returns to the side.

Bristol Bears team to face Stade Francais at Ashton Gate on Saturday, December 7th (3pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Ian Madigan, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: 16. Will Capon, 17. Jordan Lay, 18. Nicky Thomas, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Luke Hamilton, 21. Nic Stirzaker, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Toby Fricker.

Unavailable: Shaun Malton (neck), Yann Thomas (achilles), Lewis Thiede (neck), Dan Thomas (groin), Blake Boyland (ankle), Siale Piutau (knee), Jack Bates (hamstring), Luke Daniels (shoulder).

Stade Francais:

Last time out

Stade Francais 19-11 Bristol | Friday, January 11th, 2008 | Heineken Cup

Stade Francais put themselves right back in the picture for Heineken Cup qualification with a 19-11 victory over Bristol.

Conditions were difficult at a wet and blustery Stade Jean Boiun but, despite plenty of missed chances and missed kicks by the French side, the hosts still ran out deserved winners.

Stade were the better side throughout but failed to take advantage of their possession and territory, meaning Bristol also stayed in with a shout right until the closing minutes.

Read the full report here.

Word from the camp

Pat Lam has called on his Bristol Bears team to get back to winning ways in the European Challenge Cup on Saturday (3pm KO).

Bristol face French giants Stade Francais in pool four at Ashton Gate and the Director of Rugby wants a reaction in front of the home support.

Subscribe to Bristol Bears TV by clicking here.


Form guide

Bristol Bears, one of only two teams to take a maximum 10 points from the first two rounds of the European Rugby Challenge Cup, will look to continue their scoring spree in Saturday’s home match against Stade Francais Paris.

The Pool 4 leaders have scored the most tries (13), made the most breaks (38) and beaten the most defenders (66).

Key facts

  • Stade Francais Paris have made the fewest breaks (4) of any side in the Challenge Cup this season.
  • Bristol have lost just two of their 11 home games against French opposition in the tournament.
  • Bristol and Stade have met twice before in Europe, with both games coming in the European Cup and honours going to the home side on both occasions.

Bristol Bears: WWD
Stade Français: LWL


Steven Luatua vs Ryan Chapuis

Steven Luatua will make his 50th Bristol Bears appearance on Saturday, and it will also be the 28th time he has captained or co-captained the side.

He goes head-to-head with 21-year-old back-row Ryan Chapuis at Ashton Gate.

Ian Madigan vs Joris Segonds

Ian Madigan makes his first competitive appearance since September on Saturday, and will be looking to lay down a marker in the number 10 shirt.

Fly half Joris Segonds joined Stade from Pro D2 side, Stade Aurillacois (Pro D2), where he scored 227 points during the 2018/19 campaign.

Statto's corner

  • Steven Luatua will make his 50th Bristol Bears appearance on Saturday, and it will also be the 28th time he has captained or co-captained the side.
  • Luke Morahan has made more clean breaks than any one else in the tournament.