Stade Toulousain punish Sale to make big statement
MATCH REPORT: Stade Toulousain made a huge Champions Cup statement, beating Sale Sharks 45-19 in Round two on Sunday.
Antoine Dupont (2), Thibaud Flament, Cyril Baille, Lucas Tauzin and Romain Ntamack crossed for the five-time champions, who also notched through a penalty try at Stade Ernest Wallon.
Bevan Rodd, Akker van der Merwe and Jonny Hill got over in response for Sale, but they were hampered by three yellow cards over the course of the game.
Toulouse made a sluggish start and after a string of mistakes, Sale prop Rodd pounced on a loose ball, hacking forward twice before gathering to dot down with a minute played.
But Toulouse would respond on their first visit to the Sale 22, flank Flament hitting a great line and dissecting the Sale defence to power over under the posts on four minutes.
Prop Baille squirmed over from close range for the hosts’ second on 16 minutes, and a third came straight from the restart as a delightful flowing move was finished off by scrum-half Dupont.
There was further concern for Sale as hooker van der Merwe was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Toulouse full-back Ramos, but the visitors survived his sin bin period without conceding.
And buoyed by that effort, Sale ended the half in the ascendancy, reducing the deficit to seven points as van der Merwe crashed over amid an 11-man driving maul.
But it was a nightmare start to the second half for Sale, as Ramos chased a kick in behind and looked to dot down, Byron McGuigan preventing him from doing so with a high tackle, resulting in a penalty try and yellow card for the full-back.
Toulouse took advantage of the extra man this time, another superb attack from deep seeing Dupont win a foot 60-metre foot race to dive on a kick through a scrambling Sale defence.
More deft handling put wing Tauzin over in the corner on 59 minutes, and Toulouse’s tightening grip on the game led to another yellow card for Sale as wing Tom O’Flaherty was reprimanded for a deliberate knock-on.
A period of Sale pressure saw Toulouse replacement prop Charlie Faumuina join O’Flaherty in the sin bin for a cynical infringement, but the home side’s defence held firm and they raced down the other end with a series of superb offloads, fly-half Ntamack eventually splashing over under the posts.
A chaotic end to the game saw both sides claim to have scored tries in the same play, but ultimately neither effort was awarded and Ramos was sent off for a headbutt in a resulting fracas.
There was time for a final play and lock Hill powered over to score Sale’s third, but it was a mere consolation for the travelling team.
Toulouse and Sale clash again in Round 3 as the TOP 14 side outfit the AJ Bell Stadium on January 14.
For Stade Toulousain:
Tries: Flament, Baille, Dupont 2, Tauzin, Ntamack; Penalty try
Cons: Ramos 4
For Sale Sharks
Tries: Rodd, van der Merwe, Hill
Cons: R Du Preez 2
Stade Toulousain: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Lucas Tauzin, 13 Dimitri Delibes, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matthis Lebel, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Anthony Jelonch, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Thibaud Flament, 5 Emmanuel Meafou, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Rodrigue Neti, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Joshua Brennan, 20 Yannick Youyoutte, 21 Selevasio Tolofua, 22 Sofiane Guitoune, 23 Martin Page Relo.
Sale Sharks: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Arron Reed, 10 Robert du Preez (captain), 9 Fergus Warr, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jacobus Wiese, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Bevan Rodd.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Joe Jones, 19 Jono Ross, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Thomas Curtis, 23 Ryan Mills.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Filippo Russo (Italy), Manuel Bottino (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)