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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 April, 2003, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Toulouse scupper Saints
Toulouse 32-16 Northampton

Toulouse powered into the Heineken Cup semi-finals with a comfortable victory over Northampton.

Christian Labit of Toulouse offloads
Christian Labit passes under pressure

The French team will now face the winner of Sunday's clash between Leicester and Munster for a place in the final.

Toulouse always had a clear edge in the forward exchanges and possessed the goalkicking ability to turn that superiority into points.

The inaugural European Cup winners scored tries through Christian Labit and Cedric Heymans, while Yann Delaigue added 16 points with the boot and Frederic Michalak also kicked two penalties.


Northampton's reply came from a late try by former England winger Jon Sleightholme and 11 points from Paul Grayson's boot.

Grayson had begun in confident style, opening the scoring with a 50-metre penalty after six minutes.

The first half then developed into a kicking battle, but it was Delaigue and Michalak who ultimately held the upper hand.

Saints flanker Mark Connors and home wing Vincent Clerc paid visits to the blood-bin as the tension mounted, until Toulouse broke the deadlock just before half-time.

Toulouse 32
Tries: Labit, Heymans
Cons: Delaigue 2
Pens: Delaigue 4, Michelak 2
Northampton 16
Try: Sleightholme
Con: Grayson
Pens: Grayson 3

Labit touched down after a powerful forward drive, Delaigue converted and Toulouse led 19-6 at the break.

The kicking battle resumed in the second half with Grayson and Delaigue exchanging penalties before a frustrated Budge Pountney was sin-binned for coming in from the side of a ruck in the 48th minute.

Toulouse's man advantage lasted just seven minutes, until centre Cedric Desbrosse was also sin-binned, for a technical foul.

Saints then began to exert some pressure of their own but saw a promising forward drive repelled just a metre from the line.

Finally, Sleightholme found room to dive over after scrum-half Matt Dawson opted to run a kickable penalty.

Grayson converted but, with both sides back to 15 men, Toulouse replacement winger Heymans killed the game 10 minutes from time when he hacked upfield and outpaced the defence to score.


Toulouse: Poitrenaud, Ntamack, Desbrosse, Garbajosa, Clerc, Delaigue, Michalak, Collazo, Bru, Poux, Gerard, Pelous, Bouihlou, F Maka, Labit. Replacements: Lecouls, Servat, Lamboley, Forgues, Dupuy, Jauzion, Heymans.

Northampton: Beal, Brooks, Reihana, Hyndman, Cohen, Grayson, Dawson, Smith, Thompson, Stewart, Lord, Phillips, Connors, Pountney, Blowers. Replacements: Budgen, Hunter, Williams, Jorgensen, Vass, Ripol, Sleightholme.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Alastair Eykyn
"Toulouse won the game in the first half"


SEE ALSO
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12 Apr 03  |  European Club
Perpignan break Scarlet hearts
11 Apr 03  |  European Club

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