Toulouse 42 Stade Francais 16
Toulouse have won the all-French Heineken Cup quarter-final with a crushing win over Stade Francais.
Yannick Jauzion, Patricio Albacete and Cedric Heymans scored tries as Guy Noves’ men cut loose in the south of France.
But the three-time champions were made to work hard for their success in the opening period after Rodrigo Roncero crossed for Stade.
However, the French giants rallied and the turning point came on the stroke of half-time when centre Jauzion burrowed over before Albacete and then Heymans struck late on to put the final nail in the coffin.
Now Toulouse will face defending champions Leinster in a mouth-watering semi-final clash with the prize a place in May’s final in Paris.
The hosts moved the sell-out tie between the French arch rivals to Toulouse’s football ground.
But there was no place for England flanker James Haskell in the Stade Francais squad.
Toulouse had the opportunity to open the scoring in the eighth minute but Florian Fritz saw his halfway line attempt fall to the right of the posts.
But the home side were handed a shock when they fell behind at the end of a hard-fought opening quarter through Stade skipper Roncero.
Scotland full-back Hugo Southwell was held up in the left corner but quick service from half backs Noel Herman Oelschig and Lionel Beauxis found Roncero 10 metres out.
The Argentina prop attacked Toulouse forward Louis Picamoles and brushed aside the number eight with ease to score under the posts.
Beauxis converted but the home side responded in the 25th minute when David Skrela booted a close-range penalty.
But Beauxis added his second successful kick at goal two minutes later to restore Stade’s seven-point lead.
Skrela scored his second penalty before the hosts struck a telling blow on the stroke of half-time.
Jauzion squeezed under the tackle of Stade scrum-half Oelschig to touch down. Skrela added the extras to hand Toulouse a narrow 13-10 interval lead.
A flurry of penalties dominated the early proceedings of the second half as both Beauxis and Skrela added six points each.
The latter by the Toulouse number 10 struck the right-hand upright before sneaking through.
Skrela missed the chance to further the home side’s lead but they made no mistake on the hour mark to finish the tie as a contest.
The classy Jauzion, Byron Kelleher and Clement Poitrenaud combined to free Yoann Maestri on the left flank.
Kelleher was involved again as they surged towards the line and Albacete crashed over.
Skrela converted and then added another penalty to allow the home supporters to start the celebrations.
To compound Stade’s misery, replacement Simon Taylor was yellow carded for killing the ball under the posts with nine minutes remaining.
Heymans touched down with a routine score in the left corner, while Skrela added the conversion and had two penalties to complete his 27-point tally.