Toulouse hold off spirited Oyonnax

Date published: November 21 2015

Toulouse ran three tries past Oyonnax to secure a 24-18 win over their Top 14 rivals in the Champions Cup at the Stade Ernest Wallon.

Wing pair Timoci Matanavou and Maxime Médard joined centre Gael Fickou as try-scorers for the hosts but Toulouse would fall short of a bonus point, as Oyonnax battled bravely in an error-strewn game on Saturday.

In reply for Oyonnax, their scorers were centre Vincent Martin and scrum-half Fabien Cibray, as they head home with a losing bonus point to their name.

Oyonnax would lead 3-6 at half-time in a forgetful opening period as both sides struggled for fluidity, with the lineout being a major negative for Toulouse as the game wore on. Eventually hooker Christopher Tolofua was replaced after a disappointing performance at the set-piece.

The visitors had gone in front as early as the seventh minute through the boot of fly-half Régis Lespinas and he was at it again two minutes later after Toulouse full-back Clément Poitrenaud was penalised for not releasing on the ground. Oyonnax were more than worthy of their 0-6 cushion.

Toulouse did respond through their own kicker, Luke McAlister, on 14 minutes after a sustained spell of possession but that was as good as things got for the former European champions in the first-half, as errors all over the field hindered their progress in the game.

It took just three minutes of the second stanza for the hosts to spark into life though as Matanavou's dancing feet saw him over for seven points after McAlister's extras. For the first time in the contest Toulouse were in the lead at 10-6 and they looked to turn the screw.

However, the sloppy lineout continued to halt any momentum for the hosts and while Médard's score on the hour mark was a thing of beauty, there wasn't a great deal of plus points for the home fans to enjoy. A 17-6 advantage somewhat papered over what looked set to be a low-scoring game.

Cue a change in fortunes for both sides as the floodgates opened in the final ten minutes, with Martin crossing for Oyonnax before Fickou went over for a lovely try that reestablished Toulouse's cushion at 24-11.

But credit to Oyonnax, who deserved their losing bonus point when Cibray was alive to Toulouse throwing the ball around and capitalised, racing down the right wing to make it a 24-18 scoreline.

Despite Toulouse rolling the dice in the closing seconds, that was how it ended at the Stade Ernest Wallon.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Matanavou, Médard, Fickou
Cons: McAlister 3
Pens: McAlister

For Oyonnax:
Tries: Martin, Cibray
Cons: Robinson
Pens: Lespinas 2

Toulouse: 15 Clément Poitrenaud, 14 Maxime Médard, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Timoci Matanavou, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Talalelei Gray, 5 Romain Millo-Chluski, 4 Yoann Maestri (c), 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Vasil Kakovin.
Replacements: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Nemiah Tialata, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 David Mele, 22 Yann David, 23 Arthur Bonneval.

Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Silvère Tian, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Regis Lespinas, 9 Fabien Cibray (c), 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Olivier Missoup, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Leon Power, 4 George Robson, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Laurent Delboulbès.
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Marc Clerc, 19 Valentin Ursache, 20 Pedrie Wannenburg, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Nicky Robinson, 23 Geoffrey Fabbri.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)