European Champions Cup: Toulouse 19-10 Connacht

Toulouse centre Yann David tackles Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran at the Stade Ernest Wallon
Toulouse centre Yann David tackles Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran at the Stade Ernest Wallon
European Champions Cup Pool 2
Toulouse (14) 19
Tries: Fickou, Bonneval, Tekori Cons: Doussain 2
Connacht (3) 10
Try: Muldoon Con: Ronaldson Pen: Ronaldson

Connacht missed out on a first European Champions Cup quarter-final after this dramatic defeat by Toulouse.

A win would have ensured Connacht's progress but Toulouse go through along with pool winner Wasps.

Tries from Gael Fickou, Arthur Bonneval and Joe Tekori helped a dominant Toulouse to a commanding 19-3 lead.

Connacht fought back and John Muldoon's converted try left the visitors just short of a losing bonus point which would have also taken them through.

The Irish side started the day top of Pool 2 but second-placed Wasps, as expected, picked up a bonus-point win over Zebre.

That left Connacht needing a win while a losing bonus point would be enough if Toulouse did not earn a winning bonus point.

Strong start from Toulouse

It looked bleak for Pat Lam's team midway through the first half as Toulouse powered their way to a 14-0 advantage at the Stade Ernest Wallon.

Fickou touched down after sustained pressure before Bonneval burst down the line to score a second converted try for the hosts.

Craig Ronaldson's penalty put Connacht on the scoreboard but lock Quinn Roux was shown a yellow card for a deliberate foul four minutes before the break.

Jean-Marc Doussain missed the resulting penalty as Toulouse went in 14-3 ahead at half-time.

Toulouse extended their lead to 16 points when Tekori rumbled over for an unconverted try seven minutes into the second half.

Connacht comeback

Connacht showed their resilience and determination with a fightback which came close to clinching a place in the last eight.

Skipper Muldoon charged over on 54 minutes and Ronaldson added the extras to leave Connacht within a penalty of securing a losing bonus point.

Connacht were now the team with the momentum but their attacks were thwarted by infringements, poor handling and excellent Toulouse defending.

Toulouse survived to make the quarter-finals while Connacht ended their campaign in third place.

Toulouse: Huget, Bonneval, David, Fickou, Perez, Doussain, Bezy, Baille, C. Tolofua, Johnston, R. Gray, Maestri, J. Tekori, Dusautoir, Cros.

Replacements: Kakovin for Baille (65), Ghiraldini for C. Tolofua (67), Galan for J. Tekori (67), Faasalele for Cros (70). Not Used: van Dyk, T. Gray, Flood, Palisson.

Connacht: O'Halloran, Adeolokun, Robb, Ronaldson, Healy, Carty, Marmion, Buckley, McCartney, Bealham, Roux, Cannon, Fox-Matamua, Heenan, Muldoon.

Replacements: Poolman for Adeolokun (62), J. Cooney for Marmion (74), Heffernan for McCartney (64), Andress for Bealham (74), O'Brien for Fox-Matamua (62). Not Used: J. Cooney, Dawai, Farrell.

Sin Bin: Roux (36).

Ref: Wayne Barnes (England).