Sun, May 29, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Toulouse thrash Clermont 26-9 to take spot in final

AFP, MARSEILLE, FRANCE

Patricio Albacete of Toulouse, right, fights for the ball with Thibaut Privat of Clermont Auvergne during their semi-final match at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, France, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

Toulouse moved a step closer to an 18th French rugby title, but the first in three seasons, on Friday with a 29-6 win over outgoing champions Clermont at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France.

Toulouse, the most titled club in France, reached the June 4 trophy match with an accomplished display that swept away their rivals to set up a showdown with either Racing Metro against dark horses Montpellier, who were to face off in Marseille yesterday.

Clermont made a sluggish start and were swiftly punished before a raucous crowd of 56,700.

Toulouse had finished the regular league season top of the heap and they never looked back once David Skrela had whipped over a penalty to break the deadlock after just six minutes for the first of a quadruple salvo.

Two minutes later and Clermont had a mountain to climb after Rupeni Caucaunibuca raced away for a try that Skrela converted.

Penalties from Anthony Floch and Morgan Parra — sandwiching a riposte from Skrela — briefly saw Clermont strive to make a game of it, but they went in at the interval well chastened at 13-6 behind.

The second period brought no respite as Toulouse showed just how much they want to get their hands back on the Brennus Shield.

Skrela kicked another two penalties and Nicolas Bezy stretched the advantage with a kick of his own before Caucaunibuca ran in another try which Bezy converted.

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