Pau send Stade Francais packing as Falcons fly into semis

Defending champions Stade Francais were knocked out of the European Challenge Cup in a thrilling quarter-final as Top 14 rivals Pau claimed a 35-32 victory.

Stade are battling against relegation from France's top flight in the midst of a miserable campaign, but came close to pulling off a remarkable fightback against a Pau side jockeying for a play-off spot in the same division.

Pau reached the quarters as the top seed having won all six of their pool matches and they led 27-14 at the break thanks to tries from Jale Vatubua, Benson Stanley and Thibault Daubagna.

Jules Plisson converted a penalty after the restart and then converted a Djibril Camara try to cut the gap to three points, but Quentin Lespiaucq crossed to re-establish Pau's command.

Plisson and Tom Taylor then traded penalties before Marvin O'Connor went over a minute from time for Stade, who ran out of time to complete a turnaround as Pau set up a semi-final clash with either Edinburgh or Cardiff Blues.

Newcastle Falcons' excellent season continued as they breezed into the semis with a 25-10 win over Brive.

The Falcons, who are fourth in the Premiership as they bid to secure a place in the play-offs, edged the first half at Kingston Park before finding another gear in the second to progress to the last four.

Fly-half Toby Flood struggled with the boot, knocking over just one conversion, but set up three of Newcastle's four tries in an instrumental performance.

A pair of magnificent passes saw him lay on a brace for Alex Tait as the Newcastle's own 100 per cent record in the competition was maintained, with Connacht or Gloucester awaiting them in the semis.

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