Sun, Oct 20, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Toulouse bounce back to stun Sarries

WEMBLEY WOES:A record crowd was unable to spur Saracens on to victory, despite the home side having scored the first try and leading by six points at halftime


Yoann Huget of Toulouse, right, tackles Saracens’ Alex Goode during the European Cup match between Saracens and Toulouse at Wembley Stadium in London on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Four-time champions Toulouse came from behind to stun Saracens 17-16 in front of more than 60,000 fans at Wembley in a European Cup Pool 3 match on Friday.

The French Top 14 giants are now in control of the group following two wins out of two, while the Londoners had to settle for a defensive bonus point, in front of a record crowd for a pool game in England.

Sarries missed out on a dramatic late victory when Owen Farrell’s drop-kick fell agonizingly short.

“This result puts Toulouse in control of the group to a degree, but we still have a lot to play for,” said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. “We must do the job when we have Zebre back to back in December.”

Chris Wyles had given the hosts the lead with the opening try of the match, but close-range scores from forwards Christopher Tolofua and Louis Picamoles turned the game in Toulouse’s favor.

The French made a haphazard start that cost them the first try of the match as Clement Poitrenaud took his eye off the ball with Chris Ashton storming in to make a hit and dropped Luke McAlister’s pass.

Saracens recovered the ball and quickly managed to isolate center Wyles up against No. 8 Gilian Galan.

Wyles broke the gain-line and exchanged passes with Ashton before running round under the posts, with Farrell converting.

It could have been two tries as Toulouse turned over ball in their own half again when Maxime Medard spilled it in the tackle and Ashton kicked through, only for the backtracking Thierry Dusautoir to save his side.

Toulouse were no more composed in attack as McAlister missed three penalty attempts, the last from practically right in front of the posts, while he sliced two clearance kicks into touch with little territorial gain.

Saracens had been warned about their indiscipline, though, and referee Nigel Owens lost patience when David Strettle tackled Yannick Nyanga off the ball and was promptly sent to the sin-bin.

Toulouse kicked for touch instead of goal and won the line-out before forming a maul and driving hooker Tolofua over the line.

Scrumhalf Jean-Marc Doussain took over kicking duties and leveled the scores at 7-7.

However, back to a full contingent, Saracens were quickly into the ascendancy and two Farrell penalties gave them a six-point cushion at halftime, while McAlister’s miserable game ended when he had to go off injured five minutes before the break.

Farrell stretched Sarries’ lead early in the second period, but Doussain landed his own kick 13 minutes from time to keep Toulouse within a converted try of the lead. Doussain forced a turnover deep in the Toulouse half and then a kick and chase from Yoann Huget forced Andy Goode to touch down behind his own tryline.

France No.8 Picamoles picked and went from the back of the 5m scrum and forced his way over.

With Doussain kicking the extras, Toulouse had a one-point lead with 10 minutes to play.

Saracens battled until four minutes into overtime when Farrell’s drop-kick attempt was partially blocked and dropped just a yard short of the crossbar.

Toulouse coach Guy Noves admitted that McAlister will miss next weekend’s French Top 14 clash against Toulon.

“We fear it’s a rupture of the ligament in the left forearm,” Noves said. “He is already out of contention for the next match.”

In Pool 5, Leicester bounced back from last week’s defeat by Ulster with a comfortable 34-3 win over Italians Treviso.

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