But Toulouse showed the whole of Europe just how good they can be as they secured their place in the final eight in front of nearly 15,000 fans. Last season's Heineken Cup runners-up demolished a brave but out-classed Scarlets side as they continued their march towards a third final in a row. The Scarlets were a distant second but manged five tries on their way to racking up 36 points - the highest number of points Toulouse have ever conceded in a home Cup match. A try double from hard-working lock Chris Wyatt - who must be giving Wales coach Mike Ruddock some food for thought - kept the visitors in the match at halftime, but there was no stopping the French heavyweights as they wrapped up the match in the second spell. The Scarlets went into the match knowing they were simply making up the numbers in the final round of the Cup. Their chances went out the window after a narrow first-round loss to Toulouse in the mud and the heart-breaker against Northampton last weekend. With their Celtic League crown out of reach, Wales' traditional flag-bearers at this level have to simply limp to the finish linein May and regather for season 2005-06. Toulouse ran the ball from the opening minute, giving Wales skipper Gareth Thomas an early chance to stretch his legs against his countrymen, but the home side were rocked by a Chris Wyatt try under the posts in the 10th minute. A ridiculous pass from fullback Clement Poitrenaud - who must still have nighmares after handing last season's Heineken Cup to Rob Howley on a plate - went over the head of centre Yannick Jauzion and into the arms of second-rower Wyatt, who galloped over the line untouched. But the try simply made Toulouse angry. Speedster Vincent Clerc went over in the corner after some skilful handling from scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and poor defence from the Scarlets, and Jauzion crashed over near the posts after some good work from fly-half Frederic Michalak. Gareth Bowen narrowed the margin with a penalty goal, but "Alfie" Thomas increased the home side's lead as he crashed through the attempted tackles of Garan Evans, Dwayne Peel, Dafydd Jones and Tal Selley in a blatant message to British Lions coach Clive Woodward. In his current form, the Wales skipper will have to be in a wheelchair to miss out on the tour of New Zealand in June. Toulouse's dominance was illustrated with a penalty try that gave them a bonus point and a guaranteed home quarter-final, and flanker Jean Bouilhou made things even more embarrassing with a pushover try moments later. The Scarlets refused to drop their heads, though, and Wyatt reached over from a close-range scrum to narrow the score to 33-17 at halftime. Michalak opened the first half with a beautifully struck dropped goal, before a stunning break from hooker William Servat set up Poiternaud for his side's sixth try. Replacement backrower Andy Powell gave the Scarlets some much-needed go-forward, and some hard work up front paid off when prop John Davies forced his way over the try-line after a good buildup from skipper Simon Easterby. Powell scored a try to give his side a well-deserved bonus point, but it brought his side to within 12 points of the French club and gave the Stade Ernest Wallon crowd a few nervous moments. Poitrenaud and replacement scrum-half Jean-Frederic Dubois allowed the fans to settle back in their seats with late tries, and the Scarlets were left with a late try to Selley and the small consolation that they were out-played by a side who have a royal chance of going on and winning the whole thing.
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'.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton say their first prioirty on Sunday in the opening game of the World Cup is to win against Uruguay and not get overly concerned with points difference.
With only days to go until the biggest rugby competition in the world begins, rugby fans visiting Cardiff this autumn will be able to enjoy a special display at National Museum Cardiff as part of the celebrations surrounding the Rugby World Cup.
Geraint John has taken up the new role of WRU elite coach development manager having arrived in Wales last week. WRU TV caught up with him at the WRU rugby department's strategy day at the Millennium Stadium.