Toulouse off to winning start

Date published: October 19 2014

Toulouse got their European campaign off to a positive start on Sunday as they overcame Montpellier 30-23 in a ding-dong battle.

Toulouse got their European campaign off to a positive start on Sunday as they beat Montpellier 30-23 in a ding-dong battle at Stade Ernest Wallon.

French international wing Yoann Huget touched down either side of half-time as the home side outscored their free-running visitors three tries to two.

Toulouse led 13-10 at the end of a hotly contested first-half thanks to a try just before the break from Huget, as the hosts replied to Montpellier wing Timoci Nagusa’s opening try.

Montpellier briefly retook the lead thanks to a Wynand Olivier try but Huget’s second and crucial individual effort from scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain saw Toulouse home.

Montpellier scrum-half Teddy Iribarent and Toulouse fly-half Luke McAlister exchanged penalties as the match got off to a scrappy start to leave the scores locked at 3-all after half an hour.

Fiji Sevens star Samisoni Viriviri was unlucky to be denied a wonderful first try on debut for Montpellier when referee Wayne Barnes allowed Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir to convince him to call in the TMO. The replay showed that Dusautoir had been held back in the build up but whether it would have made a difference is debatable.

A minute later justice would be served as the first try was nevertheless made in Fiji. Former Toulouse flank Akapusi Qera offloaded to Iribarent, who provided the link to the flying Nagusa and the wingers’ pace did the rest. Iribarent added the conversion as the visitors took a deserved lead at 10-3.

Toulouse replied swiftly however. McAlister slotted a scrum penalty to cut the gap before Huget timed his run perfectly to get a jump start on Viriviri and win the race to McAlister’s pin-point kick into the corner. McAlister’s conversion gave the hosts a narrow lead at the interval.

Iribarent was somewhat harshly shown a yellow card for pulling his opposite number back early in the second half but, despite their numerical disadvantage, Montpellier were first to score after the break as Olivier produced a brilliant finish in the corner after a long-range break out. Fly-half Enzo Selponi slotted the conversion.

Once again, Toulouse replied quickly with Huget collecting McAlister’s cross-field kick before zigzagging past three defenders to score. Toby Flood’s conversion restored the three-point gap.

Census Johnston was lucky not to see more than yellow for a late shoulder charge on Nagusa but Iribarent landed the penalty to level the scores at 20-all at the start of the final quarter.

Toulouse showed they can also score with 14-men as Doussain latched onto Imanol Harinordoquy’s offload before chasing down his own chip ahead to grab a great try. Flood converted.

Toulouse pushed for the bonus-point fourth try in the dying minutes but settled on a penalty that secured the win.

Montpellier snatched a deserved losing bonus point though as Benoit Paillaugue landed a last-minute penalty.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Huget 2, Doussain
Cons: McAlister, Flood 2
Pens: McAlister 2, Flood
Yellow card: Johnston

For Montpellier:
Tries: Nagusa, Olivier
Cons: Iribarent, Selponi
Pens: Iribarent 2, Paillaugue 2
Yellow card: Iribarent

Toulouse: 15 Maxime M