Planet Rugby

Toulouse hit the ground running

Vincent Clerc Toulouse v Sale Heineken Cup

Vincent Clerc touches down again for Toulouse

11th October 2009 16:51

Share:

Census Johnston Ben Cohen

Prop Star: Census Johnston

Toulouse announced their arrival at Europe's top table by serving up a sumptuous feast of running rugby, breaking away to record a 36-17 Heineken Cup win over Sale Sharks at Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday.

As beautiful and as clever as each of their five tries were, appearances can sometimes deceive. Sale's decision to field what was largely a second-string side robbed this match of any real meaning: the game was over as a contest before it had barely begun. It was a sorry way to end what has been a wonderful weekend of rugby.

One can sympathise with the visitors' need to "manage resources" - but only to a point. One wonders how they will now "manage" their punctured self-esteem or their position at the foot of Pool Five, on -19 game points.

Toulouse might also live to regret Sale's management of resources. Yes, the French giants looked slick against a side that had one eye on the taxi rank (they fly home tonight) but it wasn't ideal preparation for their next encounter: Quins at the Stoop.

But all that's for next week - back to proceedings in France, where there was a happy moment for Vincent Clerc. The France star dotted down twice to take his tally of tries in the Heineken Cup to 30, thereby overtaking Cardiff Blues and former Llanelli Scarlets star Dafydd James's try-scoring record in Europe's premier competition.

But it was Maxime Medard who handed Toulouse the early advantage with the opening try before setting up Yves Donguy for the bonus point in the first play of the second half.

Donguy added a fifth try in the final quarter for the three-time champions before the visitors grabbed late consolation tries through prop-cum-lock Rob O'Donnell and wing Ben Cohen.

Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel, back from injury, was installed as captain for the Guinness Premiership outfit who were without the likes of regular captain Dean Schofield, Mark Cueto and Charlie Hodgson.

The makeshift visitors were huddled under their own sticks as early as the second minute when Toulouse took the lead through Medard.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde's cross-kick found Cédric Heymans, whose reverse pass allowed Medard to shrug off the tackle of England World Cup winner Cohen to touch down.

French half-back Elissalde converted from the left touchline to pass through the 400-point barrier in this competition.

Sale briefly halted the surge of attacks and got their first points on the scoreboard through Nick MacLeod's fifth-minute penalty.

But Toulouse got into their stride when Clerc scored his first try to equal James' long-standing record. Florian Fritz made the break in midfield, and after centre partner Yannick Jauzion was held up, Clerc burrowed through MacLeod's last-ditch tackle.

Elissalde converted and added his first penalty in the 23rd minute to put Toulouse 17-3 in front, Sale unable to compete with their hosts' pace and power up front.

But Clerc reached his milestone five minutes later when he capitalised on excellent quick-thinking from the livewire scrum-half.

Elissalde spotted Clerc in oceans of space on the right flank, and his perfectly-weighted cross-kick allowed the wing to score.

Clerc turned provider to set up Donguy for the bonus point.

But Sale kept plugging away - and after their first decent period of possession, Sean Cox went close in the left corner.

Toulouse were not finished and grabbed a fifth try in the 66th minute when Byron Kelleher's intelligent kick through caught Sale cold and Donguy had the pace and footwork to score his second try - before O'Donnell and Cohen crossed for Sale late on.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Medard, Clerc 2, Donguy 2
Cons: Elissalde 3, Michalak
Pen: Elissalde

For Sale Sharks:
Tries: O'Donnell, Cohen
Cons: MacLeod 2
Pen: MacLeod

The teams:

Toulouse: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Cédric Heymans, 10 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 9 Byron Kelleher, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Jean Bouilhou, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Grégory Lamboley, 3 Census Johnston, 2 William Servat, 1 Daan Human.
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Romain Millo-Chluski, 19 Shaun Sowerby, 20 Frédéric Michalak, 21 Yann David , 22 Yves Donguy, 23 Benoit Lecouls.

Sale: 15 Marika Vakacegu, 14 Ben Cohen, 13 Johnny Kennedy, 12 Andy Tuilagi, 11 Oriol Ripol, 10 Nick MacLeod, 9 Dwayne Peel (capt), 8 Carl Fearns, 7 David Seymour, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Rob O'Donnell, 3 Jack Forster, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Gavin Kerr.
Replacements: 16 Ben Roberts, 17 Lee Imiolek, 18 Martin Halsall, 19 David Tait, 20 Neil Briggs, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Richard Wigglesworth, 23 David Bishop.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Colin Stanley (Ire), Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
Television match official: Brian Fitzgerald (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821