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Last Updated: Friday, 14 January, 2005, 21:21 GMT
Toulouse 53-36 Scarlets
HEINEKEN CUP POOL 3
Toulouse fly-half Freddie Michalak is tackled by Scarlets scrum-half Dwayne Peel
Toulouse: (33) 53:
Tries: Clerc, Jauzion, Thomas, Penalty try, Bouilhou, Poitrenaud 2, Dupuy.
Cons: Elissalde 4, Michalak.
DG: Michalak.
Scarlets: (17) 36:
Tries: Wyatt 2, Davies, Powell, Selley.
Cons: Bowen 4.
Pens: Bowen.
Att: 16,900
Toulouse underlined their status as one of the Heineken Cup favourites with an eight-try show against Llanelli Scarlets at Stade Ernest Wallon.

The return of France fly-half Freddie Michalak was instrumental as Toulouse booked a quarter-final home draw.

Among the Toulouse scorers was Wales skipper Gareth Thomas, delighted to claim a try against his countrymen.

The Scarlets battled bravely and had five tries of their own to show, lock Chris Wyatt claiming a brace.

An early howler by Toulouse full-back Clement Poitrenaud gifted Scarlets the opening try, as his lofted pass inside to no one in particular was caught by a surprised and delighted Wyatt.

The Scarlets lock had only to take a few steps to flop over the line and give Gareth Bowen a simple conversion from under the posts.

It took until the 14th minute for Toulouse to hit back however, winger Vincent Clerc finding himself all alone on the blindside of a five-metre scrum as the Scarlets fluffed their defensive lines.

Jean-Baptists Elissalde missed the difficult conversion but made no mistake three minutes later from Yannick Jauzion's try under the sticks.

It was a tough old night, Llanelli played well but we defended poorly and they exploited that
Toulouse wing and Wales skipper Gareth Thomas

Bowen pulled the Scarlets back to 12-10 behind with his first penalty, but it did not take long for the home side to stretch away again.

Wales captain Thomas showed tremendous strength to barge through three of his fellow countrymen and claim Toulouse's third try, converted by Elissalde.

It took until just a few ticks past the half-hour mark for Toulouse to secure their place in the quarter-finals and a home draw - probably as second seeds.

A fourth try to guarantee a bonus point came via the whistle of referee Dave Pearson, who gave the French a penalty try as he lost patience with a string of desperate - and illegal - Scarlets defensive attempts.

Then a sublime Michalak break from his own 22 allowed flanker Jean Bouilhou to stretch over from a close-range ruck, Elissalde converting both scores.

The Scarlets showed great character to earn Wyatt his second try of the night from a rolling maul, but despite another Bowen conversion the Welsh side trailed 33-17 at half-time.

It was great to score five tries here, but we would much rather have had a win
Scarlets lock Chris Wyatt

Michalak got the second-half scoring underway with a lazily struck drop-goal, before the Toulouse forwards and backs combined to send Poitrenaud over in the right-hand corner.

Scarlets coach Gareth Jenkins looked to his replacements' bench - including Lions hooker Robin McBryde - to try and stem the Toulouse tide and for a while it worked.

A concerted drive allowed veteran prop John Davies to crash over for a converted try, before replacement back-row Andy Powell claimed a fourth try for the visitors and a bonus point in defeat.

But for every Wales cap Jenkins had in reserve, opposite number Guy Noves had two France internationals and it was not long before Poitrenaud claimed his second try of the night, Michalak this time converting.

Replacement scrum-half Sylvain Dupuy added Toulouse's eighth try to take the home side over the 50-point barrier, and there was just time for Tal Selley to grab a late consolation for the Scarlets.


Toulouse: C Poitrenaud; V Clerc, Y Jauzion, F Fritz, G Thomas; F Michalak, J Elissalde; P Collazo, W Servat, J Poux, F Pelous (capt), T Brennan, J Bouilhou, F Maka, I Maka.
Replacements: Y Bru, O Hassan, G Lamboley, C Labit, J Dubois, C Heymans, N Jeanjean.

Scarlets: G Evans; A Havili, M Phillips, S Finau, T Selley; G Bowen, D Peel; P John, M Rees, J Davies, V Cooper, C Wyatt, S Easterby (capt), G Thomas, D Jones.
Replacements: D Maddocks, R McBryde, A Jones, B Griffiths, A Powell, A Gravelle, A Thomas.

Referee: Dave Pearson (England).




SEE ALSO
Heineken Cup 2004/5
29 Jun 04 |  European Club
Scarlets stung by European exit
09 Jan 05 |  European Club


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