Planet Rugby

Toulouse hit the quarter-finals

17th January 2010 17:03

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Maxime Medard v Quins

Maxime Medard: One of Toulouse's tryscorers on his way to the line

Toulouse became the second club - and the second French club - to reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals on Sunday after a mesmerising 33-21 win over Harlequins.

Florian Fritz bagged the opening try for the hosts before second-half tries from Jean Bouilhou, Cedric Heymans and Maxime Medard eased Guy Noves' side to victory and the knock-out stages at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.

Mike Brown and Ugo Monye (2) crossed for the visitors who suffered their fifth-successive defeat of this year's competition.

But it is the seventh season out of eight that the French giants have reached the last eight of Europe's premier competition.

The home side began brightly but centre Fritz missed a fifth-minute penalty from the halfway line and fly-half Jean Baptiste-Elissalde saw his drop goal attempt fly to the left of the posts.

Quins weathered the early storm and, against the run of play, Nick Evans also wasted a golden opportunity to break the deadlock but the Kiwi saw his long-range penalty fall short.

Elissalde missed a second penalty before a third opportunity arose in the 18th minute when Welsh referee Nigel Owens penalised Quins for offside.

Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir signalled for Elissalde to kick for goal and finally the hosts were up and running as the ball flew through the uprights.

But the Guinness Premiership outfit hit back in the 23rd minute with the opening try.

A slick handling move put lock James Percival through a gap and although his pass looked forward, full-back Brown was able to score under the posts with consummate ease.

Evans converted but the joy was to be short-lived for the visitors.

Elissalde booted home two penalties in quick succession to take the lead for the first time before Toulouse struck with their first try of the contest.

Heymans escaped the attention of Quins wings Monye and David Strettle and his reverse pass found Fritz who sauntered under the posts. Elissalde converted for a commanding 16-7 interval lead.

Toulouse set out after the restart with an attacking intent in a bid to achieve maximum points.

And it was not long before the second try came through flanker Bouilhou. Elissalde made the break in midfield and after neat support play by replacement Gregory Lamboley and Dusautoir, Bouilhou added the finishing touch.

Quins' misery was further compounded when prop Ceri Jones was yellow-carded for a clear trip on Elissalde.

Immediately, Toulouse capitalised on the numerical advantage and Heymans added a third when the left wing cruised over in the left corner.

Then full-back Medard confirmed the home side's place in the quarter-finals with the fourth score in the 65th minute, securing the bonus point.

British and Irish Lions wing Monye scored a late consolation for Quins with a superb solo effort and his efforts were rewarded by the applause of the home supporters.

And the England international added his second from close-range with the last play of the game to make for a more respectable scoreline.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries:Fritz, Bouilhou, Heymans, Medard
Cons: Elissalde 2
Pens: Elissalde 3

For Harlequins:
Tries: Brown, Monye 2
Cons: Evans 3

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

Harlequins:15 Mike Brown, 14 David Strettle, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Nils Mordt, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Will Skinner (c), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Tani Fuga, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements:16 Chris Brooker, 17 Aston Croall, 18 James Johnston, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Chris Robshaw, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Tom Williams,

Referee: Nigel Owens

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