Sunday 20 May 2018

European Watch: Toulouse show form ahead of Euro push

Toulouse flanker Talalelei Gray (C) runs with the ball through Clermont's Benson Stanley. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Toulouse flanker Talalelei Gray (C) runs with the ball through Clermont's Benson Stanley. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Declan Rooney

Top 14 leaders Clermont were picked apart by Connacht's Pool 2 rivals Toulouse last weekend as they warmed up for an assault on the Champions Cup.

Tries from Yoann Huget and Arthur Bonneval as well as penalties from three different kickers - Florian Fritz, Jean Marc Doussain and Sebastien Bezy - put Toulouse in control, and Gael Fickou clinched the win after the break.

With an away trip still to come for Connacht in the south of France, Toulouse's seven wins from eight home games is an enviable record, especially considering Pat Lam's side will have to secure a positive result there to reach the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, in the English Premiership, Wasps claimed a 34-30 win away to Newcastle Falcons in their end-of-year-clash at Kingston Park, a result that put them top the pile for the start of 2017.

Tries from Danny Cipriani, Thomas Young, Christian Wade and Jimmy Gopperth edged a tight battle with the north easterners, and they will be hoping for more of the same this weekend at home to Leicester Tigers, who parted company with director of rugby Richard Cockerill earlier this week.

Next up for Connacht in the competition is Zebre tomorrow week, when the Italians will hope to recover from defeats to Treviso and Edinburgh over the Christmas period. They face a really tough outing against Leinster in Dublin tonight.

Irish Independent

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