South African fly-half Morne Steyn endured a miserable first start of the season for Stade Francais on Friday when he was red-carded in the Top 14 leaders’ 12-9 defeat at Lyon.
Steyn, the 30-year-old top-scorer at the 2011 World Cup, had confidently kicked Stade into a 6-0 lead courtesy of a 40-metre penalty and a quick-thinking drop goal.
But after Mosese Ratuvou had cut the deficit with the night’s opening try, Steyn saw red in the 31st minute for kicking the Fijian winger as the two tussled on the ground.
It left Stade to play 50 minutes with 14 men and Lyon took full advantage when Ratuvou added a second try early in the second period, muscling his way over after a sharp pass from Ricky Januarie.
Jerome Porical kicked the extras for a 12-6 lead.
Stade’s replacement fly-half Jules Plisson, who kicked a perfect six from six in their 30-6 victory over champions Toulon on Sunday, kept his side in the hunt with a well-struck, long-distance penalty on the hour mark.
Plisson had a chance to level the match with 10 minutes left but pulled his penalty wide of the posts as Lyon, who have lost just one of their last 25 home games, claimed a second successive Top 14 win to add to their 16-13 victory over third-placed Clermont last weekend.
“We were a player down for most of the match. Morne wanted this so much, he’s very sad in the dressing room,” said Stade coach Gonzalo Quessada.
“He wasted a great opportunity. There’s not much more to say.”