Planet Rugby

Toulouse grind out bonus-point win

14th January 2012 17:31

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Timoci Matanavou scoring for Toulouse against Connacht

Going over: Timoci Matanavou

Toulouse consolidated their place at the top of Heineken Cup Pool Six on Saturday with a 24-3 win over Connacht at Stade Ernest Wallon.

Toulouse disposed of Connacht clinically and professionally as they grabbed a crucial bonus point.

Connacht opened the scoring after 14 minutes through the boot of fly-half Niall O'Connor after IRB World Player of the Year Thierry Dusautoir had conceded the penalty with a rare moment of ill-discipline.

This only served to spur the French champions into life though and no one could keep pace with flying winger Timoci Matanavou as he raced onto a good kick through from Maxime Medard to touch down.

After a decent spell of possession for Connacht, Medard then rounded off an excellent Toulouse counter attack with a score of his own. Again the try came from a deft kick, this time from Kiwi fly-half Luke McAlister.

The Irishmen had done well to hang on to the coattails of their opponents and still be in the hunt at just 10-3 down at half-time.

However, the Top 14 leaders took advantage of their huge superiority in the scrum early in the second half.

After a series of reset scrums, Louis Picamoles caught the Connacht defence unawares by taking a free-kick quickly and powering over to score.

Just as it looked as though Toulouse might pull away, the Galway outfit showed great spirit and endeavour to frustrate their illustrious hosts for the next twenty minutes.

Toulouse were made to work for their bonus point but they duly got it with ten minutes to spare as Medard turned creator once more and Matanavou galloped down the left touchline to finish the job off with a fourth try.

The French giants are now firmly in pole position as they sit atop pool four with 18 points going into the final round of matches when they must visit Gloucester.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Matanavou 2, Medard, Picamoles
Cons: Beauxis 2

For Connacht:
Pens: O'Connor

Toulouse: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Yann David , 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Timoci Matanavou, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Louis Picamoles , 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Jean Bouilhou, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Census Johnston, 2 William Servat, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements:16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Dan Human, 19 Grégory Lamboley, 20 Jean-Marc Doussain, 21 Lionel Beauxis, 22 Clément Poitrenaud, 23 Shaun Sowerby,

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (C), 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Kyle Tonetti, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul O'Donohoe, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Dylan Rogers, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke 17 Denis Buckley 18 Stewart Maguire 19 Mick Kearney 20 Eoin McKeon 21 Dave Moore 22 Miah Nikora 23 Henry Fa'afili

Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

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