Quins blow chance after Gloucester's breathless triumph

Gloucester 34 Toulouse 24

Kingsholm

Generous souls, these Gloucester types. The Cherry and Whites
did everything in their power to give Harlequins a helping hand on
the Heineken Cup qualification front last night, putting four tries
past the most successful club in the tournament's history to
register a victory of stunning magnitude. Over in the west of
Ireland, Quins did their level best to muck things up for
themselves and duly did so by losing to Connacht by a point, 9-8,
handing the pool victory to a deeply relieved Toulouse. There's
gratitude for you.

The game at Kingsholm had some high-voltage electricity about it from the start, although the first significant act was of the lights-out variety, committed by the Gloucester prop Nick Wood in the first minute. George Clancy, the referee, decided Wood was up to no good at a ruck on the Toulouse 22 and immediately flourished a yellow card in his direction. Playing against the French champions with a full complement of personnel is never less than a test of the most severe variety, so the West Countrymen faced a brutal examination now.

Yet it was they who opened the scoring. Freddie Burns hung a skyscraper kick on the Toulouse rearguard and put Timoci Matanavou in serious trouble and strife. Matanavou tried to wriggle his way out of the in-goal area but finally exhausted all running possibilities and attempted a clearance kick instead. This was charged down by Jonny May, who also won the race to the touchdown. Burns converted to give his side a precious advantage.

It lasted all of four minutes. Matanavou made up for his previous indiscretion by leading a lightning-fast break-out from defence and Thierry Dusautoir set sail from 40 metres to claim the equalising score.

From there, the game developed into a compelling duel of the cut-and-thrust variety, with both sides willing to give the ball width and run onto it from a variety of finally calculated angles. Brilliant hands in midfield allowed Matanavou to score in the right corner after Lionel Beauxis had given his side the lead with a penalty, but Gloucester, with the free-roaming Luke Narraway and the dangerous wings Charlie Sharples and James Simpson-Daniel to the fore, struck back with an equally fine try, completed by their Fijian flanker Akapusi Qera, who was also playing a blinder. At the break, Toulouse were only three breathless points ahead.

It was not a lead they defended for long, for Sharples put the cat amongst the pigeons immediately on the resumption after Burns had displayed considerable intelligence in milking an advantage and catching Toulouse napping to launch an attack down the right. Mike Tindall's toe-poke and May's sweet inside pass did the rest. When the outside-half added a penalty 11 minutes later, there was a genuine chance of an upset.

But Toulouse are not four-time champions for nothing. Beauxis, one of the most formidable kicking stand-offs in the world game, suddenly chanced his arm with a broken-field run, instigating a stunning attack involving Dusautoir, Clément Poitrenaud and Maxime Médard, who combined to give Matanavou his second try. Beauxis added the extras to square it at 24-apiece. It was fast becoming the most engrossing Heineken Cup game ever seen at this famous old venue.

Then came the killer moments. Burns banged over a penalty after the highly-rated young prop Shaun Knight took it upon himself to boss Toulouse around at a defensive scrum. Then, Simpson-Daniel wrong-footed Matanavou down the left before finding May on the optimum line. The full-back, so fleet of foot, raced to the left corner for a try magisterially converted by his outside-half. Sensational.

Scorers: Gloucester: Tries May 2, Qera, Sharples; Conversions Burns 4; Penalties Burns 2. Toulouse: Tries Matanavou 2, Dusautoir; Conversions Beauxis 3; Penalty Beauxis.

Gloucester: J May; C Sharples, M Tindall (R Mills, 65), E Fuimaono-Sapolu (H Trinder, 58), J Simpson-Daniel; F Burns, R Lawson (D Lewis, 73); N Wood (D Murphy, 71), S Lawson (D Dawidiuk, 57), R Harden (S Knight ,63), J Hamilton, A Brown (W James, 71), A Strokosch, A Qera (Murphy 4-12, M Cox 70), L Narraway (capt).

Toulouse: C Poitrenaud (Y Donguy, 71); T Matanavou, F Fritz, Y Jauzion, M Medard; L Beauxis, L Burgess (J-M Doussain, 63); G Steenkamp (D Human, 48), W Servat, C Johnston (J-B Poux, 56), Y Maestri (G Lamboley, 48), P Albacete, T Dusautoir (capt), Y Nyanga (J Bouilhou, 60), L Picamoles (S Sowerby, 59).

Referee: G Clancy (Ireland).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform