Saturday 25 November 2017

French power topples O'Shea's troops

Heineken Cup round-up

Harlequins' record 14-match unbeaten run came to a crashing halt at The Stoop last night as they were overpowered 21-10 by four-time champions Toulouse.

Conor O'Shea's men briefly threatened a second-half comeback with a try from full-back Mike Brown, who impressed on a difficult night for his team.

But ultimately Toulouse had too much power and panache.

The French giants created a try in each half for Fijian wing Timoci Matanavou, while Luke McAlister kept Harlequins subdued with three penalties and a conversion.

England's interim head coach Stuart Lancaster was among the sold-out crowd, casting an eye over Quins' crop of exciting youngsters.

Loosehead prop Joe Marler endured a torrid time opposite giant Samoan Census Johnston until he was carried off on a stretcher.

Chris Robshaw, seen by many as an England captaincy candidate, had his work cut out opposite a Toulouse back-row that included imperious French skipper Thierry Dusautoir and Man of the Match Louis Picamoles.

There were second-half flashes from try-scorer Brown, wing Ugo Monye and scrum-half Danny Care to excite Lancaster as Quins briefly threatened a revival, but the visitors stepped up a gear to pull clear.

Elsewhere, Dan Parks kicked 20 points as Cardiff Blues maintained their unbeaten start to the competition, leapfrogging Edinburgh to go top of Pool 2 with a 25-8 home victory over the Scots.

A drop goal and penalty from out-half Parks gave the Blues a 6-3 half-time advantage -- scrum-half Greig Laidlaw replied with a penalty for the visitors.

Scotland international Parks then added another drop goal, three penalties and converted Alex Cuthbert's late try to seal the win.

Edinburgh claimed a try of their own through Lee Jones as their unbeaten start in Europe came to an end.

Irish Independent

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