Planet Rugby

McAlister puts boot into Tigers

14th October 2012 16:51

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Luke McAlister Toulouse v Tigers

Luke McAlister: Tames the Tigers

Toulouse pivot Luke McAlister kicked six penalties to help his team to a well-earned 23-9 victory over Leicester in their Heineken Cup opener at Stadium de Toulouse on Sunday.

It was a vital home win for the hosts in the 'Pool of Death'.

The four-time champions were responsible for the only try being scored through rising star Gael Fickou, who put his team in front with a sensational solo touchdown before the break which proved to be the beginning of the end for the Tigers.

It was the hosts that opened up an 11-9 half-time lead through Gael Fickou's try and two McAlister three-pointers. Toby Flood responded for the visitors with three penalties, but 12 more points from the boot of the Kiwi fly-half in the second period sealed the win.

These two giants of European rugby have won six titles between them with the French side being the competition's most successful club with four victories.

However, the wet weather wasn't conducive for the open and expansive game most were hoping for. Instead, both packs battled to gain the upper hand in what was a relatively turgid affair.

Florian Fritz had threatened early on with a superb line off the shoulder of Louis Picamoles and Flood almost pounced on a loose kick from Clement Poitrenaud.

But it was the boot that dominated the majority of the opening period and it was the Tigers' stand-off that opened the scoring after Toulouse were penalised at the scrum.

McAlister soon levelled matters with one of his own before his opposite number regained Leicester's advantage.

A further three-pointer from the former New Zealand international once again put the teams on equal footing, but a cynical Gurthro Steenkamp trip saw the prop sin-binned.

And the visitors took advantage of his absence when Flood slotted a penalty as the Tigers led 9-6.

The hosts have been well-versed in bringing through talented youngsters and they seem to have found another in 18-year-old Fickou who brilliantly chipped through and re-gathered for a superb individual score.

Three consecutive McAlister three-pointers early in the second half saw the French outfit take control of proceedings as Leicester began to implode.

From another knock-on by the visitors, they infringed at the resulting set-piece and the opportunity was converted by the hosts' fly-half.

The rest of the game was primarily played in the Tigers' half, but Toulouse couldn't extend their advantage, although they went away with a comfortable and potentially vital victory.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Try: Fickou
Pens: McAlister 6

For Leicester:
Pens: Flood 3

Toulouse: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Romain Millo Chlusky, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Jean Batiste Poux, 18 Antoine Guillamon, 19 Patricio Albacete, 20 Jean Bouilhou, 21 Yannick Jauzion, 22 Luke Burgess, 23 Timoci Matanavou.

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Thomas Waldrom, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements:16 George Chuter, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

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