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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 October 2005, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Toulouse 50-28 Scarlets
Clement Poitrenaud breaks through for Toulouse's opening try
Toulouse: (24) 50:
Tries: Poitrenaud, Bouilhou, Thomas, Maka, Dubois, Heymans, Fritz.
Cons: Elissalde 6.
Pens: Elissalde.
Scarlets: (11) 28:
Tries: James, Louw, Watkins.
Cons: Bowen, Hercus.
Pen: Bowen 3.
Att: 16,280
Toulouse sent a message to the rest of Europe that they will not give up their Heineken Cup crown easily by pounding Llanelli Scarlets into submission.

The French side showed little mercy with a seven-try haul, which included one flowing move ended by Wales skipper Gareth Thomas against his countrymen.

Dafydd James scored a try just before the break, while Hottie Louw and Matt Watkins also crossed for the Scarlets.

But Toulouse were always dominant on home turf at the Stade Ernest Wallon.

The Scarlets weathered an early onslaught to carve out two penalty chances for Gareth Bowen, the fly-half making no mistake for an encouraging 6-0 lead.

But after a softening-up process from the Toulouse pack, fly-half Jean-Frederic Dubois chipped through for full-back Clement Poitrenaud to score the game's first try.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde added a difficult conversion from the right touchline, making up for an earlier penalty miss, and the European champions were up and running.

Scarlets wing Mark Jones just prevented Thomas from a swift second Toulouse try.

We didn't get enough ball to compete, but we weren't helped by the loss of Simon Easterby so early.
Scarlets coach Gareth Jenkins

But Elissalde kept the French ticking over with a penalty and a conversion of Jean Bouilhou's try, when an inside pass sent the flanker over under the posts.

The wear-and-tear was already showing on the Scarlets forwards and both prop Iestyn Thomas and skipper Simon Easterby limped to the sidelines.

For a while there was uncontested scrums, as John Davies, replacing Thomas, was also forced off to get stitches in a head wound.

Toulouse soon added a third converted try, as Yannick Jauzion made the break in midfield and the French put the ball through the hands to send Thomas over for the try he craved.

But right at the end of the half James gave the Scarlets something to hang on to, the wing following up to score after Regan King hacked on a loose ball.

However, it took Toulouse just seven minutes after the restart to claim their fourth try, and a bonus point, as a catch-and-drive from a lineout sent hulking number eight Isitolo Maka over.

When Dubois scored under the posts soon after, gathering a chip over what few Scarlets defenders were still on their feet, the feeling was that it was now just a matter of how many Toulouse would score.

The Scarlets refused to lie down, though, and replacement lock Louw barrelled through to give the scoreline a bit of respectability.

But normal service was resumed as Elissalde broke from his own 22 to send Cedric Heymans over, before Florian Fritz raced down the right wing to bring up the 50 points.

Again the Scarlets continued played their part by carving out a try for Watkins, converted by replacement fly-half Mike Hercus.

But the Welsh could not find the fourth try that would at least have earned them a bonus point in defeat.

An exhilarating game ended on a sour note, with Scarlets flanker Jon Mills sin-binned for reacting to what he appeared to claim was an eye gouging.

  • Toulouse wing Gareth Thomas:
    "Our pack were superb today. The forwards have been struggling of late, but they really put it together against a tough Scarlets scrum.

    "When the forwards are going like that, there's not a better team in the world to play on the wing for.

    "Everyone talks about French clubs not being able to travel, so we really have to put it together for next week's trip to High Wycombe to face Wasps."

  • Scarlets coach Gareth Jenkins:
    "I don't think you could call it a disaster. We didn't get enough ball to compete, but we weren't helped by the loss of Simon Easterby so early.

    "He broke a nose and there was a lot of blood, and it was fairly obvious that he wouldn't be going back out there again.

    "And the other injuries that caused the passive scrums didn't help either."

    Toulouse: Poitrenaud; Thomas, Jauzion, Fritz, Heymans; Dubois, Elissalde; Poux, Bru (capt), Hasan, Pelous, Millo-Chlusky, Bouihlou, Nyanga, I. Maka. Replacements: Garbajosa for Thomas (63), Fiorini for Hasan (65), Lamboley for Bouihlou (55), McCullen for I. Maka (68). Not Used: Menkarska, Brennan, Michalak.

    Scarlets: Byrne; James, Watkins, King, M. Jones; Bowen, L. Davies; I. Thomas, Gravelle, J. Davies, A. Jones, Afeaki, Mills, A. Popham, Easterby (capt). Replacements: B. Davies for Byrne (68), G. Evans for M. Jones (68), Hercus for Bowen (68), John for I. Thomas (31), Rees for J. Davies (40), Louw for Afeaki (60). G. Thomas for Easterby (10).

    Referee: Chris White (England).

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