Stade Francais hosted Bayonne in their first home match of the 2020/21 season on Friday night.
The Parisian club's start to the season saw them pick up an away victory over Castres despite a COVID-19 outbreak seeing them head into that clash cold without any warm up games.
Their season opener was also postponed as they kicked off their season a week later than the rest of the sides. Stade Francais also started the new season with a new head coach with Gonzalo Quesada returning to the club having left last year's Super Rugby Finalists the Jaguares.
Stade Francais suffered a shock defeat in their first game at home of the new season by Bayonne as they went down 19-26 to the side that was placed 10th overall before the 2019/20 season was abandoned. While Stade were ranked lower, the new signings at the club and the return of Quesada had many suggesting that the Paris-based club was title material this season.
However, they were dealt their first defeat on Friday evening with Fijian prop Luke Tagi's brain fade proving to be a telling moment in the clash. Trailing 19-26 in the 74th minute, Stade Francais had the ideal opportunity to level the game with a scrum 5m away from the Bayonne line. Following a reset, prop Tagi stood up and headbutted Bayonne front-rower Ugo Boniface. The incident was picked up by the TMO and Stade Francais were penalised with Tagi going for an early shower.
“Frankly it’s terrible to commit such a professional foul. It’s a real shame and puts us in a difficult position for the games to come,” Stade Francais head coach Gonzalo Quesada following the game.
Fiji Rugby Union’s General Manager of High-Performance Commented on the incident on Twitter, saying: “I am the first person to highlight & promote our Fijian players worldwide. In being consistent I have to say that it is unacceptable the act of foul play Luke Tagi committed today. We want our players playing at the highest of levels at the best clubs/teams, not good enough…”