Blues Champions Cup hopes over

20 May 2017, 10:08

Cardiff Blues vs Stade Francais

Cardiff Blues' hopes of reaching the Champions Cup are over after they were beaten 46-21 by Stade Francais in their play-off semi-final clash.

A week after being crowned Challenge Cup winners following victory over Gloucester, Stade continued their impressive recent form in Paris.

They trailed at half-time, but the Blues capitulated after the break to concede six of the seven tries Stade recorded in the match, but they were not helped by losing five key men.

Wing Tom James pulled out in the warm-up, his replacement Rhun Williams limped off in the first half, while Rey Lee-Lo, Steve Shingler, Willis Halaholo and Kirby Myhill also left the field over the course of the 80 minutes.

Blues captain Ellis Jenkins bemoaned their bad luck with injuries: "We were in a good position, but struggled with injuries. We lost pretty much all of our backs during the game and we were our own worst enemies at times.

"We made silly mistakes and a couple of dropped balls in their half allowed them to go the length. It was tough once they brought their strength off the bench and we had so many injuries.

"We're not making excuses, Stade are a good team, but when you miss key players it gets really tough."

Wilson's team will now play in the Challenge Cup next season.

Jenkins said: "Stade had some great players off their bench. They were clinical and they have some serious pace out wide. They punished us there.

"Our aim at the start of the season was to make the top six and we started really well, but we've fallen away. That's very disappointing and we haven't qualified for the Champions Cup.

"We need to be more consistent. We've been good in some games and let ourselves down in others. We need more consistency in our performances if we're going to improve."