Toulouse on fire for Novès return

Date published: November 7 2015

Toulouse welcomed back Guy Novès in fine style as they hammered Grenoble 52-12 to move up to second in the Top 14 ahead of the European break.

Long-time coach Novès was back in the stands for the first time since taking over as France boss, and will have enjoyed what he saw from his former team, with a number of players in great form.

Gaël Fickou scored a hat-trick, with Sébastien Bézy chipping in with two more as Toulouse scored eight tries in total to tee themselves up perfectly for next week's mouthwatering clash with Saracens.

Grenoble had rung the changes from the team that beat Toulon last time out and it showed as they never threatened to repeat last year's upset at Ernest Wallon.

Ugo Mola's men dominated up front and seemed to be able to break at will, running in five tries in the first half.

After some early pressure, Fickou crossed for the first try, using the overlap outside him to easily slice through and go under the posts.

Toby Flood converted, and the next try went to scrum-half  Bézy, going over on the right after Louis Picamoles had carried off the back of an advancing scrum.

Flood was off-target with the conversion, but soon made up for it with a try of his own. Toulouse again had huge numbers out wide after good work from the forwards and Flood shrugged off a tackle to cross.

Leading 17-0, Bézy grabbed his second, this time collecting the ball from the impressive Christopher Tolofua and showing his acceleration to race over.

Flood converted, and was on-target again with six minutes left in the half when Picamoles powered over, showing his strength as Toulouse opened up a 31-0 lead.

Grenoble had lost Roussow de Klerk to a yellow card but did well to finally get off the mark before half-time, with Laurent Bouchet getting over from close range.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Toulouse grabbing their sixth try after just four minutes, Flood putting in a lovely grubber for Fickou to notch his second. Flood's conversion made it 38-5.

Grenoble finally got hold of the ball for an extended period but after a mix-up Vincent Clerc fed Fickou and he raced 60 metres for his hat-trick.

On debut, young fly-half Gilles Bosch went over for Grenoble's second try of the evening after a long period of possession, as Toulouse made changes to rest a number of players before next week.

However Toulouse had the final word with a magnificent banana kick from Clément Poitrenaud setting up Timoci Matanavou for the try.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Fickou 3, Bézy 2, Flood, Picamoles, Matanavou
Cons: Flood 5, Doussain

For Grenoble:
Tries: Bouchet, Bosch
Con: Estebanez
Yellow Card: De Klerk

Toulouse: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Yann David, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Timoci Matanavou, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sébastien Bézy, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Iosefa Tekori, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Vasil Kakovin. 
Replacements: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Gert Muller, 18 Edwin Maka, 19 Romain Millo-Chluski, 20 Yacouba Camara, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Clément Poitrenaud, 23 Nemiah Tialata.

Grenoble: 15 Fabrice Estebanez, 14 Maritino Nemani, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Nigel Hunt, 11 Lucas Dupont, 10 Gilles Bosch, 9 James Hart, 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Jonathan Best, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 James Percival, 4 Benjamin Hand 3 Rossouw De Klerk, 2 Laurent Bouchet, 1 Denis Coulson. 
Replacements: 16 Arnaud Héguy, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Hendrik Roodt, 19 Rory Grice, 20 Charl Mcleod, 21 Chris Farrell, 22 Daniel Kilioni, 23 Dayna Edwards.

Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse
Referee: Rasta Rashivenge