Tindall responds on the pitch but suffers late pain

Toulouse 21 Gloucester 17

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The Independent Online

It was definitely forward, but the try awarded to Clément Poitrenaud decided a close-fought game between two powerful and proud sides.

Gloucester had a legitimate complaint but even their most fervent supporters could see how much pressure the men in cherry and whitehad been forced to soak up.

At one point in the second half, Toulouse managed to let the visitors off the hook four times in as many minutes, the most profligate incident being when Yves Donguy dropped a scoring pass when he was in the in-goal area.

The build-up to the game had surrounded Mike Tindall's omission from England's Elite squad and £25,000 fine for misdemeanours at the World Cup, but he produced a barnstorming performance and had a hand in both Gloucester tries.

Bryan Redpath, the Gloucester coach, was full of praise for Tindall afterwards. "It was massive game from Mike and I'm delighted for him," Redpath said. "I never thought about leaving him out – he's desperate to play rugby and if he's performing like that why should we let external things get in the way? We treat him with respect, discuss things if he wants to discuss it and if not we don't keep bringing it up.

"I have a personal opinion [on the RFU ban and fine] which I will keep to myself," Redpath added. "He's appealing the ban and I'm sure it will get dealt in the right manner."

Charlie Sharples, who scored one of Gloucester's tries added: "If he was affected by it, I don't think he'd show it anyway. He's a pretty laidback guy, he's one of our most experienced players and he leads from the front."

It was the visitors who scored the first points, through the boot of fly-half Freddie Burns. Gloucester then added a try in the 32nd minute as Tindall got a pass away to Henry Trinder. who linked with full-back Jonny May to set up Sharples to score.

Slowly, Toulouse started to exert some pressure. Luke McAlister kicked a penalty and then calmed French nerves with a beautifully weighted chip touched down by Timoci Matanavou. It left them trailing by just two points at half-time, and with the initiative.

When Gloucester's Alasdair Strokosch was sent to the sin-bin for slapping the ball out of Matanavou's hands, the French side went for the kill. They took the lead after penalties by McAlister and Lionel Beauxis, but that was small reward for their efforts.

Gloucester hit back when Trinder picked up an awkward pass from Tindall and powered over, but with eight minutes left, Toulouse conjured up that deserved but dubious winning try.

Scorers: Toulouse: Tries Matanavou, Poitrenaud; Conversion Beauxis; Penalties McAlister (2), Beauxis. Gloucester: Tries Sharples, Trinder; Conversions Burns (2); Penalty Burns.

Toulouse C Poitrenaud; T Matanavou; Y David, F Fritz (Y Jauzion, 60), Y Donguy; L McAlister ( L Beauxis, 60), L Burgess; J-B Poux, G Botha (W Servat, 52), C Johnston, Y Maestri ( G Lamboley, 70), R Millo-Chluski, Y Nyanga, S Nicolas, S Sowerby (G Galan, 52).

Gloucester J May; C Sharples, H Trinder, M Tindall, T Voyce; F Burns, R Lawson ( D Lewis, 61); N Wood, D Dawiduik (S Lawson, 55), R Harden, W James, J Hamilton, P Buxton,, A Qera (L Narraway, 61), A Strokosch.

Referee P FitzGibbon (Ireland).