Toulouse on the brink of Heineken exit after catastrophic

Three-time European Cup champions Toulouse face a daunting trip to Bath next weekend to try and save their place in the knockout stages of the tournament after a shock 33-26 home defeat to Glasgow on Saturday.


The defeat – ending a run of 15 successive victories – puts them in a precarious position ahead of the Bath match as their English opponents can move ahead of them in the pool if they beat Newport-Gwent Dragons in Wales on Sunday.


Only the six group winners and two best runners-up progress to the quarter-finals.


Toulouse’s performance was described as ‘catastrophic’ by general manager Guy Noves.


“We wanted a bonus point, we got it… we spent all our time seeking to find our rhythm,” said Noves.


“Our heads were still very much at (French championship) Top 14 level not the European Cup. The speed of the Scots put us into trouble early on.


“We raised our game in the second-half but it was too late. For us it was a catastrophic match. We are neither through nor eliminated, but we will have to shape up.


“Now we know we have to win in Bath. If we don’t raise our performance it will be mission impossible.


“Glasgow taught us a lesson. We are going to try and bounce back. We had to lose some day. What really annoyed me was the way we played.”


Toulouse had fought back brilliantly after the break having trailed 23-3 with France scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde scoring nine points followed by a penalty try and then another touchdown from winger Vincent Clerc four minutes from the end to set up a spine tingling finale.


However, the Scots held on giving their coach and former Scottish international centre Sean Lineen a moment to savour.


“We wanted to play running rugby. We knew it could be dangerous against Toulouse. We love to play rugby and we love the ball. We had chances to counter-attack. We knew we were facing players of the quality of Vincent Clerc or Cedric Heymans,” said the New Zealand born coach.


“We’re very proud of this victory, especially against Toulouse.” For one of his tryscorers Max Evans it was almost a fantasy.


“It was a dream. We came here with a nothing-to-lose attitude and giving everything and we put our bodies on the line,” said Evans.


“It’s amazing to record such a victory here. I heard that it has been a long time that Toulouse has lost at home. It’s a good feeling especially in the European Cup.” Wasps, the 2004 and 2006 champions, are also in danger of missing out.


They defeated Pool Two leaders Leinster 19-12 at Twickenham but allowed the Irishmen to leave with a vital bonus point which could be enough to see them through when they entertain rock-bottom Castres in the last group game next week.


Leinster beat Wasps 41-11 in the teams’ first meeting and they will qualify should the two sides finish on level points.


Wasps’ French backrow star Serge Betsen scored the only try of the game but the reliable boot of Felipe Contempomi kept Leinster in touch.


Perpignan, without the injured Dan Carter, beat Pool Three tabletoppers Ospreys 17-15 but were still eliminated as Leicester humbled Treviso 52-0.


Leicester, while leapfrogging Ospreys to the top of the table, face a tough final match as they travel to Wales next weekend.


Defending champions Munster racked up six tries to crush Sale 37-14 on Friday to storm into the quarter-finals for the 11th successive season.


The Irishmen, who were also champions in 2006, made sure of topping Pool One with their fourth victory in five matches.


Sapa-AFP

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