Toulouse tightened their grip on Pool Two in the Heineken Cup with a convincing 30-14 win over the Ospreys on Saturday.
Toulouse tightened their grip on Pool Two in the Heineken Cup with a convincing 30-14 win over the Ospreys at Stade Ernest Wallon on Saturday.
Two tries in the first half and three more after the break secured a full-house of points for the French giants, who now hold an eight-point gap on Leicester, who face Treviso on Sunday.
Toulouse led from start to finish, building on a12-7 lead at the interval to run out comfortable winners.
In an ominously powerful display, the four-time former champions dominated every facet of play in the early stages. Off the back of a dominant scrum and a towering line-out, the hosts had almost all of the territory and possession in the first quarter, cruising to a 12-0 lead thanks to tries from centre Florian Fritz and flank Yannick Nyanga.
Although both came through slightly fortuitous circumstances, the visitors could have no complaints about the score-line. Fritz was the first to go over when he picked up a loose ball before slicing through the midfield defence and then Nyanga latched on to a loose line-out throw.
But the Ospreys caming storming back and ruled in the second 20 minutes of the first half. Scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i pulled a try back when he took a penalty quickly and slipped out of Patricio Albacete's attempted tackle and Toulouse did well not to concede another as the visitors plied in the pressure on the closing stages of the half.
Toulouse turned to their scrum to get them back on top after the restart and the addition of Christopher-Eric Tolofua to the hosts' front row piled even more pressure on the Ospreys at the set piece.
The home pack lifted the intensity in the second half and, after several phases and despite some terrific Ospreys defence Toulouse's constant pressure finally paid off as Man of the Match Vincent Clerc went over in the corner, taking his all-time try scoring record in the Cup to 34.
The Top 14 side secured the bonus-point when prop Cencus Johnston barrelled over in the corner after being set up by Louis Picamoles for his first try of the season before full-back Yoann Huget Huget crossed.
Ryan Bevington scored a consolation try for the visitors, Matthew Morgan converting, but a Jean-Marc Doussain penalty in the last minute took the hosts up to the 30-point mark.
Tries: Fritz, Nyanga, Clerc, Johnston, Huget
Tries: Fotuali'i, Bevington
Cons: Biggar, Morgan
Toulouse: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Maxime Medard, 13 Yann David, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Vincent Clerc, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Jean Bouilhou, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 17 Yohan Montes, 18 Christopher-Eric Tolofua, 19 Yoann Maestri, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 Edwin Maka, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Gael Fickou.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Ross Jones, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i (c), 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 James King, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Dwyer, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Dimitri Arhip, 19 Lloyd Peers, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Isaacs.
Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)