Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Former European champions Toulouse sent a message out to the other contenders in the tournament as they put on a superb display of rugby as they beat the Sale Sharks 36-17 in the South of France.
Toulouse ran in five tries as they cruised to the bonus point win by dominating the forward battle, then letting their potent backs lose out wide.
Maxime Medard started things off, scoring an early try for the home side after a pinpoint crosskick. They led 24-3 at halftime, with wing Vincent Clerc scoring two tries as he took his tally to 30 tries in the Heineken Cup.
The French international has now overtaken Cardiff Blues wing Dafydd James as the leader for all time in the competition.
Yves Donguy scored the bonus point two minutes after the re-start, before adding the fifth try later in the half to take their lead out to 36-3.
Sale grabbed late consolation tries through prop-cum-lock Rob O'Donnell and wing Ben Cohen.
Toulouse manager Guy Noves described the first-half performance as "virtually excellent, but warned that next week at Harlequins it will certainly be tougher.
England World Cup winner Ben Cohen took positives from the match, but paid due respect to the highly impressive French side.
"Toulouse attacked us from all angles and deserve respect for their style of play - it was difficult to stop them in the first half," he said.
Record try scorer Vincent Clerc, who's 30 tries came in only 47 appearances, was satisfied with the result and grateful for the opportunities that came his way.
"For myself it was nice to break the record but I didnt have that in mind when I went out on the field. I wish to thank all the guys who helped me score those tries and I do hope especially that it wont stop here," he said.