Planet Rugby

Harlequins shock Toulouse

18th December 2011 13:40

Share:

Mike Brown celebrates Toulouse v Harlequins  Heineken Cup

Two tries: Mike Brown

Harlequins recorded the biggest upset of the Heineken Cup season so far with a 31-24 victory over four-time champions Toulouse in France on Sunday.

The visiting English side outscored their star-studded hosts three tries to two in a stunning display of grit and determination with full-back Mike Brown grabbing a brace.

It would be hard to argue that Quins were the stronger side on the day but, unlike the home side, they took every chance presented to them, counter-punching and hustling their way to victory against seemingly insurmountable odds.

A losing bonus point means that Toulouse retain the lead in Pool Six, just one point clear of Quins.

Against all expectations Harlequins held a 15-10 lead at half time thanks to tries from Brown and hooker Joe Gray.

Indeed the first 38 minutes were somewhat of a nightmare for Toulouse who, despite cutting the Quins defence apart as much as the pitch which was falling to pieces, were unable to get the scoreboard ticking as Luke McAlister missed three easy penalties in the first 20 minutes and Vincent Clerc had a try ruled out for a forward pass.

The pressure eventually told though as lock Yoann Maestri scored under the sticks just before half time.

But Toulouse's bad day at the office would continue in the second period as hooker William Servat twice crossed only to be denied by the TMO, who couldn't see the ball under the pile of bodies.

Meanwhile Nick Evans kept the scoreboard ticking and Brown went over for his second, forcing Toulouse to play high-risk catch-up rugby...and ultimately fall short.

The game started with former All Black pivots McAlister and Evans trading penalties. But it was the latter who stole the limelight by orchestrating the visitors' first try.

The Kiwi fly-half's neat little grubber through was superbly collected and grounded by Brown.

Evans was unable to add the extras, but it didn't matter much as McAlister was having an off day with the boot, leaving nine easy points by the wayside.

And Toulouse were made to pay when excellent hands sent Harlequins hooker Gray over after another probing kick from Evans.

In typical fashion Toulouse hit back as Maestri touched down after flank Jean Bouilhou picked the perfect line to ghost through the Quins defensive line.

The hosts continued to have most of the possession and territory in the second period, and were duly rewarded as scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain added successive penalties to give Toulouse a four-point lead.

No sooner had the game re-started but Tom Williams stole possession from Clerc and the attack ended with Easter off-loading to Brown, who scampered through for his second try.

Evans added the conversion and a penalty before Nick Easter was sin-binned for Quins' repeated spoiling tactics at the breakdown.

Toulouse took advantage as Doussain went over in the corner.

However, he missed the crucial conversion and Evans slotted two further penalties to complete a remarkable victory.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Maestri, Doussain
Con: Doussain
Pens: McAlister, Doussain

For Harlequins:
Tries: Brown 2, Gray
Cons: Evans 2
Pens: Evans 4

Yellow card: Easter (Harlequins - 69th min - hands in the ruck)

Stade Toulousain: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Yann David, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Timoci Matanavou, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Shaun Sowerby, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Jean Bouilhou, 5 Romain Millo-Chluski, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Census Johnston, 2 William Servat, 1 Yohan Montes.
Replacements: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Daan Human, 19 Grégory Lamboley, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Louis Picamoles, 22 Luke Burgees, 23 Florian Fritz.

Harlequins:15 Mike Brown, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Will Skinner, 6 Chris Robshaw (c), 5 George Robson, 4 Tomas Vallejos, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 Ben Urdapilleta, 23 Tom Williams

Venue:Stadium de Toulouse
Referee: Alain Rolland

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London WelshSale vs London Welsh Preview
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
Manawatu vs Southland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter310
2Saracens29
3Bath29
4Leicester Tigers29
5Northampton26