Europe’s most successful side avenged last week’s 16 – 14 defeat with a five-try bonus-point win over Connacht at the Sportsground tonight.

Director of Rugby Guy Noves sent a powerful side out full of intent on ensuring there would be no repeat of last week’s result and they did what was asked of them.

A flu epidemic in the Connacht camp forced Head Coach Pat Lam to make a number of late changes to the bench with Nathan White, Frank Murphy and Paul O’Donohoe all ruled out with the virus today.

And while it started out as a ‘typical Connacht day’ with gale force winds and sideways rain, the weather took a complete u-turn just before kick-off time at the Sportsground and both teams were treated to near-perfect rugby conditions.

Connacht outhalf Dan Parks opened the scoring after just two minutes with a penalty kick. His opposite number Lionel Beauxis levelled the score two minutes later.

The first of Toulouse’s five tries came on 10 minutes when their winger Maxime Medard won the race to a chipped ball and pounced on it for the five points, which Bauxis converted.

A drop goal from Parks three minutes later reduced the deficit but both kickers missed penalty their next shots at goal. Flying winger Medard claimed a cross-kick ball to run in his second try on 26 minutes. Beauxis failed to add the extras.

With Toulouse defending their line, Parks went for a second successful drop goal to reduce the gap to just six points.

Just before half time, Toulouse had the platform for a score and their forwards worked hard with continuous pick and jam, their hooker Christopher Tolofua finally barging over for the close-range score. Beauxis conversion kick was good this time

Half time score: Connacht 9 – 22 Toulouse

Despite another missed penalty attempt from Beauxis four minutes into the second half, the visitors had confirmed the bonus point 10 minutes later. With Connacht’s replacement outhalf Craig Ronaldson down injured behind the try line, Toulouse took their lineout at the front and allowed through their Number 8 and Man of the Match Louis Picamoles the space to power through for the try.

The conversion was missed but Toulouse were looking good 18 points ahead. However, Pat Lam’s men have to be commended for their ‘never give up’ attitude and eagerness to keep the ball alive at every opportunity. Eoin Griffin’s efforts were rewarded when the 23-year-old Galway man ran the length of the pitch to prevent an easy Toulouse try from their on-form winger Medard.

A Beauxis penalty seven minutes from time brought Toulouse to 30 points. But the French men signed off the night with try number 5 from their replacement centre Gael Fickou, converted by Beauxis to finish the game 37 – 9.

Full time score: Connacht 9 – 37 Toulouse

CONNACHT: R Henshaw; F Carr, E Griffin, D McSharry, M Healy; D Parks, K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris Wright, R Ah You, M Kearney, C Clarke (capt), J Muldoon, J Heenan, E McKeon.

Replacements: JP Cooney for Ah You (14-17 and 61 mins), S Henry for Harris-Wright, D Buckley for Wilkinson (52 mins), C Ronaldson for Parks (53 mins), D Leader for Ronaldson (55 mins), A Browne for Clarke (61 mins), G Duffy for McSharry (63 mins), G Naoupu for Kearney (67 mins).
TOULOUSE: C¨ Poitrenaud; Y Huget, F Fritz, Y David, M Médard; L Beauxis, JM Doussain; S Ferreira, C Tolofua, C Johnston, R Millo-Chluski, Y Maestri, Y Nyanga, T Dusautoir (capt), L Picamoles.

Replacements: G Fickou for David (56 mins), C Ralepelle for Tolofua, G Steenkamp for Ferreira, Y Montes for Johnston, J Tekori for Maestri (all 61 mins), H Gear for Medard (65 mins), Sébastien Bézy for Doussain (71 mins).
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales).

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