‘We expected better’: Ex-All Black disappoints in first start in France

Former All Blacks halfback Brad Weber has disappointed in his starting debut for Stade Francais in a lopsided 30-6 loss to Pau in the Top 14.

After two showings off the bench to start his stint in France with the Paris club, the former Chiefs co-captain started in the round eight clash.

Stade fell behind early as Pau put in two tries through blindside Sacha Zegueur and lock Mickael Capelli.

Former Exeter flyhalf Joe Simmonds kicked two conversions and two penalties to give Pau a 20-6 lead at half-time.

Stade Francais remained scoreless in the second half as Simmonds added another penalty and former All Black No 8 Luke Whitelock added another Pau try.

French writer Jerome Prevot of RugbyRama deemed Weber and former England player Joe Marchant, who played for the Blues in Super Rugby in 2019, to be “flops.”

He ran out of things to say about Weber’s “without genius” performance against the All Blacks No 9.

“How should I respond? Otherwise, given that this New Zealand scrum-half has been selected for the All Blacks eighteen times, we were expecting more,” he added.

Few disagreements regarding individual initiative, few decisive actions, and one puzzling call regarding a penalty that he played fast and hit straight into touch.

On Marchant he wrote that he was “annihilated” from “start to finish” by the Pau defence.

The England midfielder had seven carries for seven metres and one turnover conceded.

“It wasn’t the kind of match that could have made him shine naturally. So, we expected from the center of the XV de la Rose, something more incisive, something that would have some allure.

“Almost from the beginning to the end, we felt that the Pau defense had destroyed him.”

In an attempt to improve his running style, Weber didn’t do much better, logging six runs for fifteen metres.

The Pau defense proved to be impenetrable, preventing Stade Francais from recording a line break.

Pau is currently dominating the league in first place after the match between two of the top four teams in the Top 14 was crucial.

Following the defeat, Stade Francais dropped to 5-3 overall and is still in third place, which is the opposite of where they were before the game.

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