Toulouse ready for Leinster, warns coach

Toulouse 47 - 44 Clermont Auvergne

Toulouse joint-coach Regis Sonnes said that the manner in which they came from behind to oust Clermont Auvergne 47-44 in a 10-try thriller at Le Stadium sets them up perfectly for a crack at Leinster next weekend.

Sonnes, who spent two years coaching at Bandon RFC and Bandon Grammar School in Cork, praised the way his men came from 44-33 adrift to win it in the final 10 minutes in front of a crowd of almost 35,000.

The win pushes Toulouse eight points clear of Clermont at the summit of the Top14 and allows them concentrate on Leinster next weekend content in the knowledge they have all but wrapped up a semi-final spot in the French championship.

“It will be more of the same next week,” said Sonnes after a remarkable match in which both sides scored five tries and the lead changed hands six times before Toulouse pushed for home in the closing stages.

“We know what Leinster will be like, we have played them twice this season. They will be like Clermont, they will keep going so in terms of preparing for them this was a good game.

“But it’s a different competition next weekend, we will travel, and we will now start getting ready for that match. But I thought we did very well to win this one,” he added.

The atmosphere inside the home of Toulouse FC was already frenetic after an opening quarter which saw Sofiane Guitoune’s first try help the home side lead 10-9 but the fans went mad when the television cameras spotted Guy Noves in the crowd and flashed it up on the big screen.

That prompted them all to stand and chant his name in honour of a man who brought them nine French championships and four Heineken Cup crows and whose unhappy time in charge of the national side was finally wound up this week with a €1m settlement.

The good times he presided over in his 22 years at the club look like returning so it was ironic it was a 22-year-old who he gave his international debut two seasons ago who did most to scuttle this one.

Damian Penaud, son of former French international Alain, ran in a hat-trick for Clermont in a remarkable game in which they were level at 16-16 at the break before Toulouse went 33-23 in front after 59 minutes, only to find themselves down a man after Joe Tekori followed Jerome Kaino to the bin and 11 points adrift ten minutes later.

But they took over and Romain Ntamack and Guitone got late tries to add to earlier efforts from Cheslin Kolbe and Richie Gray to seal the win and send out a clear message on an evening when they didn’t pick up any new injuries.

Now they turn their attention to trying to dethrone Leinster in the battle of the only two teams to win the European Cup four times.

TOULOUSE:

T Ramos; Y Huget (M Medard 68), S Guitone, Z Holmes (R Ntamack 42), C Kolbe; A Dupont, S Bezy; C Baille (C Castets 54), P Mauvaka (S Matavesi 61), C Faumuina; R Arnold (Elstadt 72), R Gray; R Elstadt (J Tekori 56), F Cros, J Kaino (A Placines 61).

CLERMONT AUVERGNE:

S Tuicuvu; D Penaud, A Naqalevu, W Fofana, P Betham ; T Williams (M Parra 61), G Laidlaw; B Kakabadze, Y Beheregaray (J Ulugi 35-68), R Slimani; J van Tonder, S Vahaamahina; A Fischer (F Lee 27), A Lapandry (P Yato 15), D Chouly.

Referee:

R Poite.

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