Rugby Union: Tigers' towering brick wall

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The Independent Online
Toulouse 17 Leicester 22

After struggling with Milan at Welford Road and losing to Leinster in Dublin, Leicester came up with the kind of performance on Saturday that took them all the way to last season's Heineken Cup final.

A well merited victory over the French champions may not be enough to guarantee automatic qualification for this year's quarter-finals, but with two home games to come, the Tigers are handily placed.

Leicester had supposedly travelled to Concorde country more in hope than expectation. Les Sept-Deniers was sold out three days prior to the match as the locals, with two wins out of two, savoured the prospect of revenge for last season's semi-final defeat, not to mention the 77-17 hammering at the hands of Wasps.

But while the stadium was indeed a "cauldron", as the Leicester coach Bob Dwyer had predicted, his team settled to their task with impressive speed, moving and passing with great confidence from the word go.

Will Greenwood's absence, with a recurrence of a thigh injury, did not bode well, but Stuart Potter, moving across to inside-centre, more than made up for the Lion's absence with a couple of inspirational bursts.

Joel Stransky, so disappointing against Leinster, gave an authoritative display at outside-half and kicked five penalties as well as converting Eric Miller's opportunist try at the start of the second half, but it was Leicester's defence who took the honours.

The Toulouse front five provided Yann Delaigue with countless opportunities to work the ball out wide, but only once in each half were Leicester breached (although how Austin Healey metamorphosed into a brick wall as Romauld Paillat seemed sure to touch down for an equalising try in injury time, only the Leicester scrum-half will know).

Toulouse: Tries Penalty try, Garbajosa. Conversions Ougier, Marfaing. Penalty Ougier. Leicester: Try Miller. Penalties Stransky 5. Conversion Stransky.

Toulouse: S Ougier; X Garbajosa, N Martin (R Paillat, 64), P Bondouy, M Marfaing; Y Delaigue, J Cazalbou (capt); C Califano, P Soula, F Tournaire (J-L Jordana, 39-40), H Miorin, F Belot, D Lacroix, F Pelous, S Dispagne.

Leicester: M Horak; W Serevi (L Lloyd, 78), C Joiner, S Potter, T Barlow; J Stransky, A Healey; G Rowntree (P Freshwater, 62-65), R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson (capt), M Poole, M Corry (W Johnson, 78), E Miller, N Back.

Referee: M McCartney (Scotland).

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