European Challenge Cup results (October 12-14)
Thursday October 12
Friday October 13
- Enisei-STM 17-57 Bordeaux-Begles
- Agen 45-10 Zebre
- Cardiff Blues 29-19 Lyon
- Sale Sharks 20-20 Toulouse
Saturday October 14
- Krasny Yar 34-29 Stade Francais
- London Irish 14-37 Edinburgh
- Newcastle Falcons 32-27 Dragons
- Worcester 30-20 Brive
- Oyonnax 15-43 Connacht
Russian minnows Krasny Yar pulled off one of the biggest shocks in club rugby by beating holders Stade Francais 34-29 in the opening round of Challenge Cup matches.
Krasny Yar, founded in 1969 and making their debut in European competition, stunned their illustrious Pool Four rivals in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk as former Wasps flanker Viktor Gresev scored two of their five tries.
French Top 14 side Stade Francais, who beat Gloucester in last season’s final at Murrayfield in May, led 12-5 in the first half, but Krasny Yar hit back to lead 24-17 at the interval and held on for a famous victory.
French winger Julien Arias opened the scoring with the first of his two tries, while Tony Ensor, Terry Bouhraoua and Karim Qadiri all touched down for the visitors.
But first-half tries from Azamat Bitiev, Gresev, Sione Fukofuka and Andrei Mahu put the Russians in front at half-time and Gresev went over for his second with 14 minutes remaining.
Also in Pool Four, Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh secured an impressive 37-14 win against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium with two first-half tries from centre Solomoni Rasolea putting them in control.
Newcastle beat Pool One rivals Newport Gwent Dragons 32-27 in a thriller at Kingston Park, where a late converted try from back row Mark Wilson and Toby Flood’s penalty edged the home side to victory.
Worcester registered their first win since April in all competitions after overcoming the early loss of England centre Ben Te’o to beat Brive 30-20 at Sixways Stadium in their opening Pool Five match.
Te’o was forced to withdraw early on due to an ankle injury before Worcester hooker Joseph Taufete’e scored a first-half hat-trick.
Worcester prop Ethan Waller registered his first try for the club and new signing Jono Lance kicked two penalties and two conversions.
Guinness PRO14 side Connacht secured an impressive 43-15 win against French Top 14 outfit Oyonnax at the Stade de Geneve in Switzerland.
First-half tries from Matt Healy, Cian Kelleher and Eoin McKeon gave the Irish a 22-15 half-time lead in their opening Pool Five game.
Healy and Darragh Leader went over for further tries in the second half and fly-half Andrew Deegan added 18 points in total with the boot.
Sale began their European Challenge Cup campaign with a thrilling 20-20 draw with Toulouse at AJ Bell Stadium.
The Sharks, having lost four of their opening six Aviva Premiership matches, looked set for another defeat when tries from Semi Kunatani and Sebastien Bezy – both converted by the latter – put Toulouse 14-3 up heading into half-time.
However, Sale hit back and built a 17-14 lead after prolific winger Denny Solomona and Bryn Evans crossed either side of the interval, with Faf de Klerk adding the extras.
Then it became a battle of the boot, with Bezy and De Klerk exchanging penalties to leave Sale holding a narrow 20-17 lead going into the closing stages.
But Bezy had the final say after Sale had been penalised for offside at a ruck , the France fly-half nailing his 74th-minute kick to earn left four-time European champions Toulouse a draw.
Also in Pool Two, Cardiff got their campaign up and running with a bonus-point victory over Top 14 leaders Lyon, the Welsh outfit emerging 29-19 victors at Cardiff Arms Park.
After waiting 22 minutes to break the deadlock, the Blues fashioned converted tries from George Earle and Tomos Williams to earn a 14-0 half-time lead.
Macauley Cook’s try stretched Cardiff’s lead further before Lyon took advantage of Kristian Dacey’s 58th-minute yellow card to open their account through Virgile Bruni’s score.
However, Cardiff nipped any Lyon fightback in the bud when Rey Lee-Lo crossed for their fourth try, putting the hosts 26-7 ahead and earning them a bonus point.
Lyon grabbed two tries towards the end through Pierre-Louis Barassi and Jone Tuva – the second when down to 13 men – but it was too little too late.
It was a better day for two other French clubs, with Bordeaux and Agen both recording big opening wins.
Bordeaux ran in eight tries as they thrashed Enisei-STM 57-17 in Pool One in the afternoon kick-off, while Agen ran out 45-10 victors over Zebre in Pool Three with fly-half Mathieu Lamoulie finishing with 18 points from two tries, a conversion and two penalties.
Gloucester’s European Challenge Cup campaign began with defeat against Pau in France.
The Cherry and Whites, bidding to lift the trophy for a third time and go one better than last season’s final defeat to Stade Francais, were beaten 27-21 in the Pool Three opener.
Gloucester paid for lapses of concentration in the first half and, just as they were threatening a comeback, another mistake proved costly as Frank Halai sealed Pau’s victory.