Toulouse too good for brave Connacht
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Toulouse bagged a late try to secure a 32-17 bonus-point victory over brave Connacht in Pool Five of a riveting Champions Cup clash at Stade Ernest-Wallon.
The French side trailed 15-17 going into the final quarter but finished strongly to deservedly come out on top.
First fullback Thomas Ramos edged them ahead with a penalty before Jerome Kaino grabbed the decisive try after a spell of pressure and the conversion gave them an eight-point cushion.
The home side then landed the knock-out blow in the dying moments when former Connacht man Pita Ahki charged over for a much sought after fourth try.
Connacht gave as good as they got in the opening half despite losing second-rower Colby Fainga to a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on home flyhalf Romain Ntamack.
The highlight for the visitors was a stunning try for scrumhalf Caolin Blade on his 100th appearance for the club after brilliant approach work by Conor Fitzgerald and Fainga.
Centre Tom Farrell had given Connacht an 11th-minute lead when he sliced through a static defence but Toulouse excelled themselves with ball in hand to lead 15-14 at the break.
Scrumhalf Sebastien Bezy scored the home side’s opening try when he was on hand to support a brilliant break by full-back Thomas Ramos.
Then with Connacht down to 14-men Toulouse moved the ball wide for wing Yoann Huget to dive in wide out and help give his side a half-time advantage before sealing victory as their pack dominated the final 20 minutes.
Tries: Bézy, Huget, Kaino, Ahki
Cons: Ramos 3
Pens: Ramos 2
Tries: Farrell, Blade
Cons: Fitzgerald 2
Yellow card: Colby Fainga’a (Connacht, 28)
Toulouse: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Lucas Tauzin, 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Sébastien Bézy, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Alban Placines, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16.Julien Marchand, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Selevasio Tolofua, 21 Francois Cros, 22 Pita Ahki, 23 Pierre Pages.
Connacht: 15 Matt Healy, 14 John Porch, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Kyle Godwin, 10 Conor Fitzgerald, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 Quinn Roux (captain), 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 2 David Heffernan, 1 Peter McCabe.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Matthew Burke, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Joe Maksymiw, 20 Paul Boyle, 21 Angus Lloyd, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Peter Robb.
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: Dean Richards (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)