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Newport coach Ian McIntosh
"We stuck at our game plan, and it saw us through."
 real 14k

Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Last-gasp Howarth seals win
Matt Mostyn opens the scoring for Newport
Matt Mostyn opens the scoring for Newport
Newport 21-20 Toulouse

Shane Howarth grabbed a sensational last-gasp Heineken Cup victory for Newport against French champions Toulouse to preserve the Black and Ambers' unbeaten Pool Six record.

Newport looked down and out when they trailed by six points just three minutes from time, but fly-half Howarth scythed through the Toulouse defence for a try that he also converted.

Newport stunned Newcastle in the north east last Saturday, but a second successive group win looked unlikely after Toulouse scrum half Jerome Fillol scored tries either side of half time.

Wing Michel Marfaing chipped in with two penalties and two conversions for a 20-14 advantage, but roared on by a 9,000-strong crowd, Newport and Howarth came up trumps amid jubilant scenes.

Jason Forster hands off a Toulouse defender
Jason Forster hands off a Toulouse defender
Skipper Simon Raiwalui led his players on a lap on honour after the game, while Toulouse could scarcely believe how they contrived to lose the game.

Howarth's clincher came after a period of concerted Newport pressure, but just when it looked as though a well-organised Toulouse defence would hold out, a huge gap appeared and Howarth shot through it.

Newport now face fellow unbeaten pool six outfit Leinster in three weeks time and it should be a pulsating Dublin show-down.

Toulouse, the 1996 European champions, are now in grave danger of failing to reach the knock-out stages following two successive defeats.

Andy Marinos attacks the Toulouse line
Andy Marinos attacks the Toulouse line
Howarth, who kicked 19 points against Newcastle, started nervously and missed comfortable penalty chances in the 4th and 13th minutes before Newport went ahead.

Marfaing tried to clear the ball out of his own 22, but it rebounded off opposite number Matt Mostyn and he gathered a kind bounce to claim the touchdown.

Howarth couldn't convert, and Toulouse stole the initiative just seven minutes later through Fillol's opening score after sloppy work in the Newport defence.

Marfaing added the conversion, but a short-range Howarth penalty gave Newport an 8-7 interval lead.

The third quarter of a fast and furious game belonged exclusively to Toulouse, who scored 13 points and looked to have done enough for victory.

Shane Howarth kicks one of his three vital penalties
Shane Howarth kicks one of his three vital penalties
A Marfaing penalty was followed by Fillol claiming his second try when he showed great pace off the back of a scrum 30 metres out and sprinted over without a Newport defender touching him.

Marfaing's conversion and another penalty after Howarth had booted three more Newport points appeared to have sealed the deal.

Somehow though, Newport dug into untold reserves of character and commitment.

Howarth's third penalty 16 minutes from the end gave them a fighting chance, and Toulouse wasted a glorious 71st minute try scoring chance when centre Xavier Garbajosa dropped a certain scoring pass.

It was an unbelievable missed opportunity, and Newport surged back upfield for Howarth to claim hero's status and keep Newport on course for the last eight.

Newport: Tries: Mostyn, Howarth. Cons: Howarth. Pens: Howarth 3.

Toulouse: Tries: Fillol 2. Cons: Marfaing 2. Pens: Marfaing 2.

Newport: M Pini; M Mostyn, A Marinos, J Pritchard, M Watkins; S Howarth, O Tonu'u; R Snow, J Richards, A Garvey, S Raiwalui (capt), M Voyle, P Buxton, J Forster, A Powell.
Reps: C Jones, C Anthony, G Taylor, J Powell, N Brew, J Strange, D Burn.

Toulouse: F Michalak; N Jeanjean, C Desbrosse, X Garbajosa, M Marfaing; D Aucagne, J Fillol; B Lecouis, Y Bru, F Tournaire, D Gerard, F Pelous (capt), D Lacroix, I Maka, S Dispagne.
Reps: L Esposito, W Servat, H Moirin, J Bouilhou, J Cazalbou, A Dumas, F Maka.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

Attendance: 9,180.

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