Stade Francais cruised into the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a 39-10 victory over Leeds Carnegie to dump Andy Key’s men out of Europe.
Leeds knew they would have to beat the French giants on their own patch to keep alive their hopes of reaching the next round. But Stade produced a clinical performance with tries from Hugo Southwell, Olly Phillips, Rodrigo Roncero, Pierre Rabadan and Julien Arias, while all Leeds could manage was a Ceiron Thomas penalty and a Dan Browne converted try.
Leeds got off to a perfect start with Thomas slotting a penalty after just two minutes, but that was the only time they were in the lead.
Stade hit back with two penalties from the boot of Lionel Beauxis, the second after Steve Thompson was sent to the sin-bin. Phil Nilsen came on to take over the hooking duties but he was also shown yellow and Leeds spent several minutes down to 13 men.
Stade took advantage of their numerical advantage on 32 minutes with a try from Scotland international Southwell, which Beauxis converted before Thompson returned to action. But things got worse for Leeds when Phillips capitalised on a lucky bounce to score. Beauxis failed with the conversion and the score remained 18-3 at half-time.
The hosts continued to pressure Leeds after the break and got their reward when Roncero barged his way over. Stade clinched a bonus point when Rabadan touched down. Leeds hit back through Browne minutes later and Thomas converted, but that was all with Julien Arias grabbing Stade’s fifth try to compound Leeds’ woes.