Dragons (12) 19 Try: Harries Con: M Jones Pens: M Jones 4. Toulouse (18) 40 Tries: Dusautoir, Medard, Picamoles. Cons: Skrela 2. Pens: Skrela 4, Fritz 2. Drop-goal: Skrela
Robert Sidoli looks for a way through the Toulouse defence at Rodney Parade
Toulouse displayed their Heineken Cup-holder status with a comfortable win over battling Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.
The hosts were gutsy, determined and full of attacking intent.
But the four-times European kings underlined their status with a performance packed with power, patience and poise.
The visitors led 18-12 at the break and Thierry Dusautoir, Maxime Medard and Louis Picamoles crossed after it.
Dragons centre Ashley Smith was lined up for his first senior start at 10, but failed a late fitness test and the hosts brought regular fly-half Matthew Jones off the bench to take over from Smith, who had also been due to lead the side.
The late call-up kicked the game's first points, sparking a first-half duel in front of the posts that the visitors enjoyed the better of.
David Skrela replied to Jones' second-minute penalty with a drop-goal and the duo exchanged four penalties before the Frenchman added two more to put his side six points ahead as half-an-hour past.
Jones struck back for the hosts, but amid a rash of penalties awarded for a variety of spoiling offences, first Skrela was yellow-carded, then Dragons prop Ben Castle followed him to the sin-bin.
The duo were absent either side of the break and the visitors gained more from the reduction in numbers as Florian Fritz kicked the 36th-minute penalty that came from Castle's banishment.
Fritz added a second in Skrela's continued absence after the break and when the fly-half returned Toulouse were back to 15 men and battled their way to their first try, scored by Thierry Dusautoir with the video ref's approval.
Toulouse wing Vilimoni Delasau tries to break through Tom Riley's challenge
Skrela added the conversion and within four minutes of the restart, the visitors had stretched their lead by 10 points to 28-12.
However, the Dragons stayed true to their reputation by continuing to take the game to their illustrious opponents.
Good work by midfield pair Tom Cheeseman and Tom Riley - the latter's break the hosts' attacking highlight up to that point - set up a great chance.
But after prop Phil Price was brought down a few metres short, scrum-half Wayne Evans squandered a 3-1 overlap on the left by going it alone.
The scrum-half's attempt ended in a knock on and having weathered the storm Toulouse struck at the other end.
Dusautoir made inroads into the home defence and Maxime Medard finished with a flourish, Skrela converting.
But again, that did not deter Paul Turner's side. They worked their way back into Toulouse territory and two quickly taken penalties by scrum-half Evans and outstanding hooker Steve Jones paved the way for full-back Will Harries to cross and Jones converted.
Wing Aled Brew also made an impact in front of watching Wales coach Warren Gatland with his powerful running against towering Fijian Vilimoni Delasau.
Flanker Gavin Thomas also stood out amid the Dragons' effort. But the class, power and poise of French rugby's European flag-bearers shone through as number eight Louis Picamoles went over with five minutes remaining.
Toulouse's desire for a bonus-point try was clear from the fact that Skrela drop-kicked his conversion attempt of Picamoles' try.
That moment also caused confusion over the final outcome with the scoreboard showing the visitors as winning 42-19.
However, tournament organisers later issued a corrected scoreline of 40-19 with Skrela's last shot at goal deemed to have missed the target.
But the Dragons held Toulouse at bay in the final minutes to deny the French Top 14 side their wish.
Newport-Gwent Dragons: Harries; Hughes, Cheeseman, Riley, A Brew; M Jones, W Evans; Price, S Jones, Castle, Morgan, Sidoli, Lydiate, G Thomas, Coombs. Replacements: Gustafson for Price (74), Palmer for Castle (57), Charteris for Sidoli (44), Faletau for Coombs (54). Not Used: Burns, Griffiths, Gomer-Davies, M Evans.
Sin bin: Castle (36).
Toulouse: Medard; Delasau, Fritz, Jauzion, Heymans; Skrela, Vergallo; Human, Servat, Montes, Maestri, Millo-Chluski, Bouilhou, Dustautoir, Picamoles. Replacements: Johnston for Jauzion (57), Clerc for Heymans (58), Poux for Human (74), Lacombe for Servat (57), Poitrenaud for Montes (57), Sowerby for Millo-Chluski (64), Nyanga for Bouilhou (55). Not Used: Kelleher.
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