Kolbe-inspired Toulouse brush Ulster aside

South Africa's World Cup wining wing wizard scored two great tries for Top 14 side
Kolbe-inspired Toulouse brush Ulster aside

RUNAWAY: Toulouse's Thomas Ramos strides clear for the try in Sunday's 36-8 win over Ulster at Stade Ernest Wallon. Picture: Pierre Costabadie, Getty Images

Toulouse 36 Ulster 8

Ulster crashed out of the Heineken Champions Cup to Toulouse, a week after losing to Leinster in the PRO14 final.

South Africa's World Cup wining wing wizard Cheslin Kolbe scored two great tries in a 36-8 victory in Sunday's quarter-final clash at Stade Ernest-Wallon.

Kolbe showed his class at the beginning and end of the first half as he twice stepped inside Irish wing Jacob Stockdale to round off sweeping moves.

His first try came after two-and-a-half minutes as the four-time champions exploded into action in front of a 5,000-strong home crowd.

Wave after wave of attacks eventually put Kolbe one on one with Stockdale and the Springbok came off his dynamic right foot to step inside his man and score the first of Toulouse's five tries.

Ulster had long been in no doubt about the scale of the Champions Cup quarter-final challenge they faced against an in-the-mood Toulouse by the time Kolbe scored his second try just before halftime.

The Top 14 side crossed the try line at Stade Ernest Wallon three more times in an exhibition second half - and could have had more.

The Pro14 side were no match for the speed and creativity of the hosts, but they were honest and hard-working - and posed the occasional threat. John Cooney's 71st-minute consolation try could, at least, be mistaken as a reward for their determination.

But this match had a certain inevitability about it.

Toulouse needed less than three minutes to lay down a warning marker. Two of those minutes were filled with wave-upon-wave of no-respite attack that started with the first lineout of the game near halfway and ended when Cheslin Kolbe stepped Jacob Stockdale to score in the corner.

If there was any hope for Ulster - the last Pro14 side standing in Europe after Leinster, Edinburgh and Scarlets stumbled in their quarter-finals - it was that Toulouse fullback Thomas Ramos initially struggled off the tee. He missed three of his first four shots at goal. Following a change of boots, his radar was back on target after Kolbe glued Stockdale to the turf for a second time to score again shortly before halftime.

By then, Ulster were on the scoreboard via a 25th-minute Cooney penalty. But they had also lost playmaker Billy Burns, who limped off with a calf injury.

And when Antoine Dupont raced over 10 minutes into the second half - Sofiane Guitoune even had time and space to readjust his shorts while running at full chat before supplying the final pass - the match was over. But Toulouse weren't done. Former Connacht man Pita Ahki added a kick-and-chase score of individual brilliance, and Ramos finished off another Guitoune break.

It could have been worse for Ulster. Cooney was the lonely last line of defence as relentless Toulouse swept forward again as the minutes ticked down. But he managed to get between replacement scrum-half Alexis Bales' try-scoring pass and its intended target, Romain Ntamack.

More than Cooney's try, keeping Toulouse from putting 40 on the board was perhaps the least Ulster deserved.

TOULOUSE: T Ramos, Y Huget, S Guitoune P Ahki (Holmes 69), C Kolbe (Lebel 64), R Ntamack, A Dupont (Bales 64); S Tolofua, F Cros, J Kaino (captain), J Tekori (Meafou 54), R Arnold (Placines 64), C Faumina (Aldegheri 45), P Mauvaka (Marchand 45), C Baille (Neti, 52).

ULSTER: M Lowry, R Lyttle, J Hume, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, B Burns (Faddes 16), J Cooney (Mathewson 52); N Timoney (Rea 43), J Murphy, S Reidy, I Henderson (Treadwell 56),  A O'Connor (Carter 47), M Moore (Kane 64), R Herring (Andrew 64), J McGrath (O'Sullivan 48).


W Barnes (England)

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