As the clock ticked down at the home of Scottish rugby on Saturday – with Edinburgh in control and Toulouse on the back foot – Guy Novès prowled the touchline in a state of anguished helplessness. The last time he was here he was carted off to a police cell by six officers of the Lothian and Borders force for attempting to clamber into the West Stand to celebrate his team's 2005 Heineken Cup final victory against Stade Français. This time he was simply a condemned man.
A look of resignation was set on the stubbled face of the Toulouse head coach even before Greig Laidlaw's last- minute penalty sailed between the uprights to seal his side's fate. The aristocrats of European rugby, four- time winners of the Heineken Cup, had been beaten by the artisans of Edinburgh.
Up Corstorphine Road the earth might not have moved last week for Yang Guang and Tian Tian, the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, but there was more than a hint of continental shift as the 37,887 Murrayfield crowd – a record attendance for a Heineken Cup quarter-final on British soil – erupted in celebration.
For Novès and Toulouse, it was a 13th quarter-final appearance in Europe's premier club competition and their demise was anything but unlucky. They were outplayed, outfought and out-thought by an Edinburgh side astutely marshalled by Laidlaw, their captain and outside-half, not least after being reduced to 13 men for seven and a half minutes of the second quarter after flanker Ross Rennie followed prop Allan Jacobsen into the pitch-side bin of sin.
At that stage Edinburgh were 7-6 up, Laidlaw having converted the second-minute try he teed up for Mike Blair with a bomb of a garryowen and Lionel Beauxis having banged over two penalties in reply.
As Michael Bradley, Edinburgh's head coach, later conceded, it might have been different had Toulouse gone for the jugular of a scrum in front of the posts rather than another Beauxis penalty immediately after Rennie's departure.
As it was, although Beauxis claimed the three points and Timoci Matanavou ran in a snorter of a try from 60 metres, Bradley's boys proceeded to regain their composure and control – and to maintain it.
Laidlaw dropped a goal before the interval and landed a trio of penalties in a second half in which Toulouse failed to trouble the scoreboard.
All of which added up to a giantkilling success for the team standing second bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 and a shot in the arm for Scottish rugby, three weeks on from the whitewashing of the national side in the Six Nations.
Bradley only assumed the reins at Edinburgh in May last year but the former Ireland scrum-half now has a semi-final date in Dublin on 28 April, against Ulster.
Edinburgh: Try Blair; Conversion Laidlaw; Penalties Laidlaw 3; Drop goal Laidlaw. Toulouse: Try Matanavou; Penalties Beauxis 3.
Edinburgh T Brown; Jones, De Luca, Scott, T Visser; Laidlaw, M Blair ( Leck, 40); Jacobsen, Ford, Cross, Gilchrist, Cox, Denton, Rennie (Grant, 71), Talei (McInally, 71). Replacements not used Kelly, Traynor, Gilding, Godman, Thompson.
Toulouse Jauzion; Matanavou, Fritz ( Poitrenaud, 52), David, Donguy; Beauxis, Burgess ( Doussain, 66); Poux ( Human, 53), Servat ( Tolofua, 74), Johnston ( Montes, 61), Maestri ( Lamboley, 71), Albacete, Bouilhou (Nyanga, 61), Dustautoir, Picamoles (Galan, 48).
Referee N Owens (Wales).Reuse content