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
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event