Toulouse coach Guy NovÃ¨s deplored his team's inability to adapt to the situation on the field after Sunday's shock defeat to Connacht.
Toulouse coach Guy NovÃ¨s and skipper Thierry Dusautoir lamented their team's inability to adapt to the situation on the field after Sunday's shock defeat to Connacht.
Having beaten Saracens at Wembley in Round 2, the four-time champions looked set to cruise into the quarter-finals but the weekend's 16-14 loss on home soil has the potential to derail their campaign.
Despite enjoying almost 60 percent of the possession, with 10 clean line-breaks and 32 defenders beaten, Toulouse were unable to finish off their opportunities against a resolute Connacht defence.
“The scenario that happened on the field was not the one expected,” admitted NovÃ¨s.
“We didn't underestimate our opponents but we thought we would win.
“Strategically we did not adapt to their defensive repositioning. We gave away a lot of ball. We panicked and did not play the rugby we had to.
“We are well aware that next week Connacht will play the same way, with the same fervour. Hopefully le Stade Toulousain will be different.”
Dusautoir was full of praise for Connacht, and said the gulf between the French giants and the “fourth” Irish province was not evident on the pitch.
“Connacht were more aggressive than we were and they played a very good game,” said Dusautoir.
“Rugby has nothing to do about the gaps between our budgets. A game is 15 men against 15, and the 15 Irishmen were better than us today.”
“We played them a couple of years ago and, although we got two wins, they were not so easy to get.
“So we were aware of the fact that they are a good team, even if they're ranking last in the Celtic League.
“Irish teams are not the same in Celtic League and Heineken Cup. This competition is special for them.”
“We may have been too stubborn to want to play (expansively) at a time when it would have been better to be conservative,” added Dusautoir.
Full-back Clement Poitrenaud echoed his coach's sentiments, saying they knew Connacht would not roll over easily.
“It's not for a lack of having said it repeatedly throughout the week, especially [backs coach] Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, who warned us,” said Poitrenaud.
“By trying to play too much rugby against a well organised team, sometimes you get carried away and that's what happened. This is not a question of commitment, it is more a matter of intellect and control.
“A kicking game should be a weapon like any other and we did not use it enough, at least not properly, unlike them. This is a lesson to learn and we need to do it quickly because next week we're going to Ireland.”