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
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs AustraliaBarbarians vs Australia Preview
USA vs New ZealandUSA vs New Zealand Preview
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs MunsterCardiff Blues vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gonsUlster vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615