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Harlequins open European Challenge Cup campaign with Stade Francais scalp

A dominant first-half performance helped Harlequins storm to a 43-21 bonus-point victory over Stade Francais in their European Challenge Cup opener at the Twickenham Stoop.

The game was as good as over by the interval as last season's runners-up raced into a 31-7 lead, and in total Harlequins ran in seven tries as they claimed a third successive win over the French side

Quins got off to a flying start when Joe Marler crossed off the back of a driving maul after just four minutes for a try which Tim Swiel converted.

A second score arrived in the 17th minute when Joe Marchant picked up Stade fly-half Jules Plisson's misplaced pass to score, and the Aviva Premiership side moved further clear three minutes later through Tim Visser.

The Scotland wing broke free and exchanged passes with Mike Brown before touching down, with Swiel adding the extras to put Quins 19-0 up.

The visitors finally got on the scoreboard when Marland Yarde's miskick was collected by Sekou Macalou who ran under the sticks for Plisson to convert.

But Yarde redeemed himself when his mini-break set up James Chisholm to power his way past three defenders to score Quins' fourth try and seal the bonus point.

Number eight Chisholm collected his second try on the stroke of half-time and, although on that occasion Swiel failed to convert, Harlequins still led by 24 points at the interval.

It got even better for the 2011 champions in the second half as Visser's superb 95-metre interception try further increased their advantage.

Quins were given a brief scare as Stade pulled back 14 points just after the hour through converted tries from Clement Daguin and Willem Alberts, reducing the gap to 36-21.

However, Harlequins had the last word with Yarde going over two minutes from time with Ruaridh Jackson's conversion sealing what was in the end a comfortable win.


From Belfast Telegraph