Tigers tamed by Toulouse

LEICESTER captain Martin Corry admits his side’s Heineken Cup hopes are “out of their hands” after sinking to a 22-11 defeat in Toulouse.

The three-time champions inflicted revenge on Marcelo Loffreda’s men after Leicester’s tight 14-9 win in the reverse fixture at Welford Road last weekend.

Leinster’s shock loss to Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday turned Pool Six into a two-horse race.

But tries by Clement Poitrenaud and Vincent Clerc secured a vital win to put Toulouse five points clear and deny the Tigers of a losing bonus point which leaves them needing a minor miracle to reach the quarter-finals.

England star Corry said: “It’s now out of our hands and we’ll have to look at other results.

“It’s very disappointing and we knew we had to win here to keep control of our own destiny.”

Byron Kelleher insists it was payback time for Toulouse.

The former New Zealand scrum-half came on as a replacement in the second half and said: “We let ourselves down last week and we knew it was payback time.

“I thought we definitely had more power up front and in the back line than Leicester and I’m really happy with our progress this season.”

Toulouse fly-half Valentin Courrent opened the scoring with a drop goal, but was wide with a second attempt as the home side dominated the early exchanges.

As they did at Welford Road a week ago, the Tigers soaked up the early pressure and scored against the run of play as winger Tom Varndell took advantage of some poor defence to score in the corner.

The French heavyweights hit straight back; Jean-Baptiste Elissalde matched his half-back partner with a dropped goal after a desperate Lewis Moody tackle denied Yannick Jauzion, but the three points were immediately cancelled out by Andy Goode as the French side infringed in front of their posts.

Elissalde banged over a late penalty goal to give the home side a 14-8 lead at the break.

But after 43 minutes Goode reduced the deficit to just three by kicking his second penalty after Floran Fritz’s dangerous bodycheck was spotted by Irish official Alan Lewis.

Toulouse bounced back and Clerc equalled Michel Marfaing’s club record of 24 tries in the Heineken Cup in the right corner.

After an initial burst by Jauzion on the left flank, Toulouse spread the ball wide to Poitrenaud and he supplied Clerc who fended off the Tigers triple tackle of Rabeni, Geordan Murphy and Martin Corry to expertly score.

And the French giants put the game out of Leicester’s reach with Elissalde’s penalty with 10 minutes remaining to hand Toulouse an 11-point lead and secure the win.

Toulouse scorers: Tries: Poitrenaud, Clerc. Pens: Elissalde 2. Drop Goals: Courrent, Elissalde.

TOULOUSE: Poitrenaud, Clerc, Jauzion, Fritz, Heymans, Courrent, Elissalde, Human, Servat, Hasan, Pelous, Albacete, Nyanga, Dusatoir, Sowerby.

Replacements: Kunavore for Fritz (72), Kelleher for Elissalde (76), Lacombe for Servat (73), Perugini for Hasan (70), Lamboley for Pelous (41), Millochlusky for Albacete (11), Medard for Nyanga (76).

Leicester scorers: Tries: Varndell. Pens: Goode 2.

LEICESTER: G. Murphy, Rabeni, O. Smith, Hipkiss, Varndell, Goode, F. Murphy, Ayerza, Chuter, Castrogiovanni, Hamilton, Kay, Corry, Moody, Crane.

Replacements: Mauger for Varndell (65), B. Youngs for F. Murphy (76), Kayser for Chuter (76).

Ref: Alan Lewis (Ireland).

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