Amlin Challenge Cup: Jerome Porical kicks Stade Francais into final by beating Perpignan
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 26/04/13 10:54pm
Jerome Porical: Kicked the winner for Stade Francais
Two huge late kicks from Jerome Porical saw Stade Francais pinch a thrilling 25-22 victory in a pulsating Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against French rivals Perpignan.
Former Perpignan man Porical returned to his former home to help deny the hosts a place in the final in the most dramatic of fashions as Stade Francais withheld huge waves of Perpignan pressure to eventually come out on top.
Porical kicked 20 of his side's 25 points, with Gerhard Mostert's try early in the second half providing the other five, but it was his two tremendous kicks in the final six minutes that stole the show.
With extra time beckoning, Porical tried an ambitious penalty kick from halfway on the right touchline, but his booming kick came off both post and crossbar to send Stade into the final.
James Hook kicked four penalties for Perpignan, but two of his successful efforts were initially waved away before referee George Clancy called for the TV official to take a second look with howls raining in from the home crowd.
On both occasions, with the short posts at Perpignan not helping the on-field officials, Hook's kicks were given in the end, and that looked like being the main talking point as the hosts held a narrow advantage inside the final ten minutes.
Hook himself had crossed the line for Perpignan's second try after a superb reverse off-load from Lifeimi Mafi sent him sprawling into the same left corner where Guihem Guirado had crossed for his side's first.
Porical had been keeping his team in it with his goal-kicking, but after a quick burst at the start of the second half from Stade, Perpignan powered back onto the front foot and began laying siege to the visiting 22.
At 19-19 Hook dragged a penalty badly wide after a long period of pressure finally paid off, but he did edge his side in front when the TV official gave his kick for the second time in a strange period for the touch judges under huge pressure from the boisterous home crowd.
With six minutes left, Stade got a penalty five yards inside their own half, but against captain Sergio Parisse's wishes Porical pointed to the posts and set up to have a pop at goal - and thankfully for him he nailed his effort which just crept over the bar.
Extra time loomed large when Stade got another penalty, bang on halfway but right out on the right, making it an even more difficult chance for Porical, although he his confidence was sky-high after his earlier effort.
Proical launched his kick goalwards and agonisingly for Perpignan it scraped off the right post and then bounced over off the crossbar to send Stade Francais into the Amlin Cup final to face either Leinster or Biarritz.
Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals 2012/13
Jamie Heaslip ran in two tries as Leinster thrashed holders Biarritz 44-16 to reach the Amlin Challenge Cup final.
Leinster have recalled a number of their star names for Saturday's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final with Biarritz.
Perpignan will hope home advantage will count in their favour against Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup.