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Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Saturday, 6 December 2008

Toulouse 26-7 Dragons

Toulouse (7) 26
Tries: Jauzion, Poitrenaud, Medard, Fritz Cons: Michalak 3

Dragons (0) 7
Try: S Jones Con: Connor

Colin Charvis hangs on to Cedric Heymans
It's the familiar story of brave defeat for the Dragons as they fall in Toulouse

Pool five leaders Toulouse claimed a bonus-point win as Marc Stcherbina's injury disrupted the brave Dragons.

The mercurial Frederic Michalak set up Yannick Jauzion for the opening try, but the fly-half missed four simple penalties to keep the Dragons in it.

A long disruption for Stcherbina's neck injury broke Dragons' concentration.

Toulouse immediately struck with tries from Clement Poitrenaud, Maxime Medard and Florian Fritz, Steve Jones getting a late consolation for the visitors.

Three-time Heineken Cup champions Toulouse - who had won their last 10 games - promised a spectacular show at the Stade Ernest Wallon and looked to live up to it in the opening exchanges.

They encamped in the Dragons half and tested the visitors' defence with threatened genius, Michalak the chief orchestrator.

Next week we'll be on our own patch and it will be a different story

Dragons coach Paul Turner
The fly-half created the first score with a moment of inspiration, a delightful chip over the Dragons defence after a scrum 10m from the visitors' line.

Centre Jauzion read the kick and pounced to claim the first try.

Michalak converted, but was guilty of three poor penalty misses - against one from Dragon James Arlidge - as the dogged visitors kept the gap to 7-0.

The Toulouse crowd became increasingly frustrated as Cedric Heymans booted a kickable penalty dead when going for the corner, but with half-time looming Richard Fussell was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Medard.

The Toulouse winger recovered to make a scintillating midfield break in the final move of the half, Gareth Wyatt saving the Dragons by beating Poitrenaud to the touchdown after a chip through.

Michalak blew another simple penalty at the start of the second period, but the Dragons' concentration was broken when Marc Stcherbina went down with a worrying-looking neck injury after falling awkwardly in a tackle.

The influential centre was stretchered off after a long injury delay, and immediately afterwards Toulouse drove down to the Dragons' line.

A Michalak kick was again the Welsh side's undoing, the fly-half slotting through a grubber kick from 10m out that Poitrenaud pounced on for the second try.

The home side continued to batter at the Toulouse line, and when they spread the ball wide a delightful take-and-give from Poitrenaud sneaked Medard in at the corner.

We never thought this match would be an easy match

Toulouse full-back Clement Poitrenaud
The bonus-point score soon followed amidst the relentless Toulouse onslaught, Michalak finding Fritz on a switch run for the replacement to cross underneath the posts.

The Dragons battled to the end and were rewarded in the final move of the match.

Rhodri Gomer-Davies bounced through the defence with a powerful run, replacement hooker Jones supporting for the try that was converted by Shaun Connor.

Toulouse full-back Clement Poitrenaud:
"We never thought this match would be an easy match.

"Newport were tough opponents as we expected. We played well but we know next week will be more difficult."

Dragons coach Paul Turner:
"There were positives for us. We scored a fine try, lock Hoani MacDonald was fantastic and we had a young outfit out there.

"There were a couple of turning points in the game but ultimately our kicking game was not good enough.

"And against a side like Toulouse, you have to keep hold of the ball and that was the difference.

"It was always going to be difficult to come here and Toulouse aren't top of the French championship for nothing.

"We held our own for long periods but they wore us down.

"But next week we'll be on our own patch and it will be a different story."

Toulouse: C Poitrenaud, Medard, Kunavore, Jauzion, Heymans, Michalak, Kelleher, Human, Servat, Perugini, Pelous, Millo-Chulski, Bouihlou, Dusatoir, Lamboley.
Replacements: Fritz for Kunavore (41), Du Toit for Kelleher (69), Poux for Human (50), Vernet Basualdo for Servat (66), Lecouls for Perugini (50), Nyanga for Bouihlou (62), Sowerby for Lamboley (50).

Dragons: Dolman, Wyatt, Davies, Stcherbina,Fussell, Arlidge, W. Evans, Black, Willis, R. Thomas,MacDonald, Charteris, Bearman, Charvis, L. Evans.
Replacements: Smith for Stcherbina (50), Connor for Arlidge (56), R. Lewis for W. Evans (71), Robinson for Black (73), S. Jones for Willis (71), Lydiatt for Charvis (71), Ringer for L. Evans (52).

Sin Bin: Fussell (40).

Att: 18,695

Referee: Dave Pearson (England).

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see also
Heineken Cup photos
07 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
Stcherbina has successful neck op
07 Dec 08 |  NG Dragons
Heineken Cup 2008/9
17 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales

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