Pain of final defeat driving Toulouse on

BYRON KELLEHER admits Toulouse are still smarting from their 2008 Heineken Cup defeat to Munster as they chase a fourth European title.

The French giants opened their Pool Five account in style with a five-try, bonus-point home triumph over Sale Sharks at the weekend.

But All Black scrum-half Kelleher claimed the final defeat in Cardiff 17 months ago was spurring his team-mates on to creating further history.

“It was really important for us to start the Heineken Cup campaign with a real bang,” said Kelleher.

“We haven’t been playing flamboyant rugby in recent weeks in the Top 14 but the cohesion was there and we played as a team rather than individuals.

“That was the major plus for us and the performance gives us real confidence as we continue in this competition.

“We showed discipline which was also positive for us because that is where we’ve lost the Heineken Cup in the last two years.

“The majority of the team played in the final we lost to Munster and we were stung by that. We’ve learnt from that and we need to continue on a winning streak.”

Vincent Clerc grabbed two tries in the 13th and 28th minutes to take his tally to 30 tries in the Heineken Cup at Le Stadium.

The French wing overtakes Cardiff Blues and former Llanelli Scarlets star Dafydd James’ try-scoring record in Europe’s premier competition.

Maxime Medard handed Toulouse the early advantage with the opening try before Clerc’s double – and then the 28-year-old French international set up Yves Donguy for the bonus point two minutes after the restart.

Donguy added a fifth try in the final quarter for the three-time champions before a spirited Sale grabbed late consolation tries through prop-cum-lock Rob O’Donnell and wing Ben Cohen.

Toulouse scorers – Tries: Medard, Clerc 2, Donguy 2. Cons: Elissalde 3, Michalak. Pens: Elissalde.

Sale scorers – Tries: O’Donnell, Cohen. Cons: MacLeod 2. Pens: MacLeod.

TOULOUSE: M Medard, V Clerc, F Fritz, Y Jauzion, C Heymans, JB Elissalde, B Kelleher; D Human, W Servat, C Johnston, G Lamboley, P Albacete, J Bouilhou, T Dustautoir, L Picamoles.

Replacements: Y David for Fritz (47), Y Donguy for Heymans (41), F Michalak for Elissalde (47), JB Poux for Human (47), G Lacombe for Servat (47), G Lecouls for Johnston (47), R Millo-Chluski for Lamboley (47), Y Nyanga for Bouilhou (72).

SALE: M Vakacegu, B Cohen, J Kennedy, A Tuilagi, O Ripol, N MacLeod, D Peel; G Kerr, M Schwalger, J Forster, R O’Donnell, S Cox, J Gaskell, D Seymour, C Fearns.

Replacements: D Bishop for Kennedy (66), W Cliff for Peel (68), D. Tait for Kerr (53), Briggs for Schwalger (53), M Halsall for Forster (66).

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU).

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