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Leicester knock Toulouse out of Heineken cup

Adam Thompstone tries to break away from Luke McAlister

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Article Published: Sunday 20 January 2013

Leicester Tigers booked a Heineken Cup quarter final place against Toulon when they beat four time champions Toulouse 9-5 knocking them out of the Heineken Cup.

It was a winner-takes-all contest in appalling conditions of swirling snow and in the end it was sheer dogged determination that came out on top - and they will now face another major French test when they go to Toulon in the quarter-finals.

It meant four-times champions Toulouse fail to qualify for the quarter-finals for only the fourth time in 18 tournaments and will go on to contest Amlin Challenge Cup honours on the road at Perpignan.

The Tigers last lost a home tournament game when they went down to Munster in 2006 with Toulouse's poor goal kicking letting them down when it really mattered in this contest.

Yet the Tigers suffered a blow before kick-off with Manu Tuilagi failing an 11th hour fitness test on the leg injury that saw him limp off against the Ospreys seven days earlier but they still started far the brighter.

Niall Morris did lose the ball in the act of diving for the line but significantly in the testing conditions the Tigers had already demonstrated they held the whip hand at the scrums and another Toulouse infringement gave Toby Flood the chance for the first points.

Despite the swirling snow the outside half struck his penalty sweetly for the first points, Lionel Beauxis failing to master the conditions at the other end with his initial chance to level matters.

And although he got closer with his next attempt Toulouse saw that bounce back off the upright to let the Tigers off the hook. And if the Tuilagi injury had been a pre-match concern, the Tigers then lost major ball-carrier Steve Mafi as the Tongan when down as if pole-axed when his hamstring went in a kick-and-chase.

And not even a change of goal kicker could improve Toulouse's efforts to get points on the board as reward for their pressure and slick off-loading as Luke McAlister also saw his penalty attempt hit the upright and bounce to safety.

Then it was Flood's turn to see points go begging as he sent his next penalty chance wide before getting back in the groove to open up a six-points advantage.

Louis Picamoles thought he had been driven over by his fellow forward for the try the game was crying out for but the TMO ruled no try to deny the powerhouse No 8.

And if that was a reprieve for the Tigers they promptly cashed in with Flood firing over a long-range penalty to open up a healthy advantage in the most trying and testing of conditions.

And it was those conditions that contributed to the try that brought Toulouse back into the game, Matthew Tait failing to take a high ball and Yoann Huget pouncing on the loose ball for an unconverted try.

That was two points squandered and another wayward penalty followed from McAlister as they had clearly left their kicking boots back in Toulouse.

Flood, who had done so much to put the Tigers in a promising position, was yellow carded for a professional foul as Toulouse attacked to leave the Tigers a man short for almost all the remaining time.

But they held out with Toulouse left to kick themselves for those missed chances.

Final Score Leicester 9 (9) Toulouse 5 (0)


Leicester Tigers
Penalties: Flood 3

Tries: Huget

Match Officials
: George Clancy (Ire),
Assistant ref: Mark Patton (Ire),
Assistant ref: Olly Hodges (Ire),
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ire),
Citing Commissioner: Ray Wilton (Wal)


Leicester Tigers: Mathew Tait; Niall Morris, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Allen, Adam Thompstone; Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Marcos Ayerza, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Louis Deacon (c), Geoff Parling, Steve Mafi, Julian Salvi, Thomas Waldrom.

Replacements: Rob Hawkins, Logovi'i Mulipola, Martin Castrogiovanni, Ed Slater, Jordan Crane, Sam Harrison, George Ford, Matt Smith.

Toulouse: Clement Poitrenaud; Vincent Clerc, Florian Fritz, Luke McAlister, Yoann Huget; Lionel Beauxis, Jean-Marc Doussain; Gurthro Steenkamp, Christopher Tolofua, Census Johnston, Yoann Maestri, Patricio Albacete, Gregory Lamboley, Thierry Dusautoir (c), Louis Picamoles.

Replacements: Gary Botha, Vasil Kakovin, Yohann Montes, Romain Millo-Chluski, Yannick Nyanga, Luke Burgess, Yannick Jauzion, Maxime Medard.

With thanks to ERCRugby

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