Newport's slender hopes of squeezing into the Heineken Cup quarter-finals
were wrecked by a typical Toulouse counter-attacking show.
Three tries in the space of 12 minutes midway through the second half saw the
French champions through to a victory that avenged their defeat in Wales
earlier in Pool 6.
If there was pride in defeat for the Welshmen, it was a familiar tale from
this season - good, but nowhere near good enough. Having lost three close
games to Leinster this winter, another at Llanelli and now this one in
Toulouse, coach Ian McIntosh will be looking to find a way to turn his
team from nearly men to real contenders.
Not that McIntosh was too unhappy with his side's performance.
"The result is disappointing, but from our own point of view we wanted to
play the whole squad and we did that. Players have to start these kind of
games and I think we will benefit from this later on," he said.
"When we did make replacements the guys regrouped and got strong again towards the end. You can't play loose out here and we let it get too loose in the second half.
"What is very pleasing is to play away from home and be very much in the game throughout. We dominated the first half but gave away too many penalties.
"Toulouse are one of the best teams in the torunament. That's why we were so pleased to win the home game."
Simon Raiwalui's men arrived in France knowing they would have to hang on to
Toulouse in the fiery opening exchanges to stand any chance of winning and they
got the best possible start when outside half Jason Strange kicked a penalty after only four minutes.
Having pipped the French champions 21-20 with a last gasp try at Rodney Parade, the Welsh cup holders were expecting a torrid return clash. But even though former French outside half Yann Delaigue managed to edge the home team ahead with four successive penalties, it was the Frenchmen who were on the back foot more often in a nip and tuck first half.
Having conceded those 12 points without reply, Newport rallied with two more
Strange penalties in the last five minutes of the half to give themselves a great chance of notching a notable double.
Toulouse extended their lead with a drop goal from Xavier Garbajosa, but a
moment of inspiration from No 8 Andrew Powell gave the Welsh side a
considerable lift after 50 minutes.
After picking up a knock on near half-way, Powell threw an outrageous dummy
to beat the first line of defence, swerved past another defender and then
hared off for the line.
He was eventually brought down 10 metres short, but got back up to drive to within a few metres before releasing to allow fellow back row man Jason Forster to cross.
Strange added the conversion and all of a sudden Newport were ahead by a point.
But three tries in a 12 minute burst from the home side put them back in
control and wrecked Newport's dreams of victory.
No 8 Finau Maka grabbed the first, after some neat approach play by Nicolas Jeanjean, Delaigue and Emile Ntamack and then Heineken man of the match Delaigue skipped over after Hughes Miorin pinched a Newport line-out 10 metres out.
Michel Marfaing grabbed the third after a kick and chase and the reliable boot
of Delaigue converted them all.
There was a consolation try for Forster at the death after a Mike Voyle hand
off on the home 22 had cleared the way for the flanker to run to the posts.
Strange converted but is wasn't enough to keep Newport in the hunt for a quarter-final spot.
Scorers: Toulouse: Tries: F Maka, Y Delaigue, M Marfaing; Cons: Y Delaigue 3;
Pens: Y Delaigue 4; DG: X Garbajosa. Newport: Tries: J Forster 2; Cons: J
Strange 2; Pens: J Strange 3.
TOULOUSE: N Jeanjean (C Desbrosse 63); E Ntamack (capt), X Garbajosa, C
Poitrenaud (C Heymans 75), M Marfaing; Y Delaigue, J Fillol (F Michalak 67);
B Lecouls (J Poujade 73), W Servat (Y Bru 63), F Tournaire, H Miorin (F Pelous 66), D Gerard, D Lacroix (C Labit 66), F Maka, S Dispagne
NEWPORT RUGBY: M Pini; M Mostyn, M Watkins, J Pritchard (A Marinos 63), B
Breeze (A Marinos 25-33); J Strange, O Tonu'u (D Burn 60); R Snow, P Young (J
Richards 53), C Anthony (C Jones 41-53), S Raiwalui (captain, I Gough 53), M
Voyle, J Powell, J Forster, A Powell
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.