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Early onslaught delivers Challenge Cup victory for Bristol in Perpignan

By PA
Callum Sheedy of Bristol kicks a conversion. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Bristol produced a blistering first-half performance to get their European Challenge Cup campaign under way with a 19-5 win in Perpignan.

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Early tries from Charles Piutau and Fitz Harding, both converted by AJ MacGinty, gave the Gallagher Premiership side a commanding 14-0 advantage.

And when 19-year-old Joe Jenkins crossed on his European debut after gathering a Harding kick out wide, Bristol looked set for a comfortable night in the south of France.

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But Eru Shahn crossed for Perpignan on the stroke of half-time after a clever line-out and the home side largely dominated what proved to be a pointless second period.

Stade Francais hit back from behind to beat Benetton 24-14 and make a successful start at Stade Jean-Bouin.

Benetton led 14-10 on the hour mark after Siua Maile went over for their first try, but Jeremy Ward put the hosts back in front within two minutes, and a further try from Lester Etien sealed their win.

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T
Turlough 1 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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