Sunday 25 February 2018

Toulouse turn on style to leave Ospreys flapping

Toulouse 30
Ospreys 14

The Ospreys' Heineken Cup hopes may be hanging by a thread but assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys praised the commitment and character shown by his side in defeat at Toulouse.

The injury-hit Pro 12 champions suffered a second loss of the campaign yesterday afternoon, well beaten by the four-time European kings. But while their failure to pick up at least a losing bonus point leaves them eight points behind Toulouse in the standings, Humphreys saw plenty to be proud of in his young team.

"We're very proud of the boys. We could have improved on a few things tactically but we could not have improved the effort– that was as good as it gets," said Humphreys.

Toulouse put the Ospreys to the sword with a rampant second-half performance to take control of Pool 2, after leading just 12-7 at the interval thanks to quick-fire tries from Florian Fritz and Yannick Nyanga.

The Ospreys hit back with a try from Kahn Fotuali'i but the second half was a one-team affair as Vincent Clerc, Census Johnson, Yoann Huget all crossed over. The visitors again responded with a try from Ryan Bevington but it was too little too late.

"We had six guys making their Heineken Cup debut and I thought they were outstanding. With the amount of set-pieces they had in our half you would have expected the score to have been heavy, but in the end I don't think it did us justice," said Humphreys.

"We are disappointed because coming in at 12-7 at half-time we should have been in front. We created a lot of pressure and they were ragged. In the second half we wanted to get down their end and create some set-piece pressure but we weren't able to do that. "We felt we could have a real crack and if we could have just executed better a few times it could have been a different story." However, the giant pack of Toulouse steamrolled the Ospreys in the second half and they host the French aristocrats next week at the Liberty Stadium aware that one more defeat would end their already slim chances of progressing to the quarter-finals.

"This is a disappointing result but we're looking forward to next week. It's all about recovering and seeing if we can do ourselves justice," added Humphreys.

"We were very happy to get the win because we have had many injuries in recent weeks," said Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir. "So to get a bonus point as well against a strong team like the Ospreys was something extra."

Scorers – Toulouse: F Fritz, Nyanga Kabasele, V Clerc, C Johnston, Y Huget try each; L McAlister con; J-M Doussain pen. Ospreys: K Fotuali'i, R Bevington try each; D Biggar, M Morgan con each.

Toulouse: Y Huget; M Medard, Y David, F Fritz (G Ficou 21), V Clerc; L McAlister (J M Doussain 60), L Burgess; G Steenkamp (Y Maestri 43), G Botha (J B Poux 43), C Johnston (Y Montes 62); R Millo-Chluski (C Tolofua 43), P Albacete; J Bouilhou, Y N Kabasele (G Lamboley 73), L Picamoles (E Maka 62).

Ospreys: R Fussell; R Jones, A Bishop, A Beck (T Isaacs 66), E Walker; D Biggar (M Morgan 70), K Fotuali'i (R Webb 74); D Jones (L Peers 44), S Baldwin (D Arhip 78), C Johnstone (M Dwyer 78); I Gough (R Bevington 44), J King; R Jones (S Lewis 54), J Tipuric, J Bearman.

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).

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