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Monday, April 12, 2010

Toulouse crush Stade Francais to race into the semis

Toulouse crush Stade Francais to race into the semis

In the final Heineken Cup match of the weekend, Toulouse thumped Stade Francais 42-16 in their quarter final meeting in the South of France. They will face Leinster in the semi final after they beat Clermont on Friday night.

The three-time European Cup winners had flyhalf David Skrela to thank for a great kicking performance as he contributed 27 points of his own, with tries coming from Yannick Jauzion, Patricio Albacete and Cedric Heymans.

It was a titanic battle in the first half as Toulouse had trailed Stade right up until halftime after theyd scored in the 19th minute through captain Rodrigo Roncero. Jauzion got the hosts back in the lead just before the break though, taking the score to 13-10.

In the second half a string of Skrela penalties and tries to Albacete and Heymans stretched their lead and took the game away from Stade Francais, whove had a disappointing season under coach Jaques Delmas.

Toulouse coach Guy Noves however was happy, yet still not totally satisfied, feeling that his side wont be favourites going into the semi final against Leinster.

"It was difficult, because we started badly," said Noves, who has been in charge for 17 years. "This team can play better and they know that."

"Leinster are European champions, they are a magical side with stunning centres. For once, one can say that we are not favourites for a semi-final and we must prepare for it in that role," he said.

Byron Kelleher has said that his side will be in the right frame of mind come the semis.

"I watched Leinster play on Friday night and they are as good as anyone else," said Kelleher. "We will not focus too much on them just yet but we know we have a few things to work on. Seeing the level of rugby this weekend means our performance will not be sufficient to win the next game."

He added: "The knockout stages are all about taking your chances because they don't come around too often. You may only get one or two opportunities.

"Quarter-finals and semi-finals are when your playmakers come into their own, and players who can make the right decision become highly important."

Time: 03:04

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