Toulouse make light work of Quins to reach last eight

Toulouse 33 Harlequins 21
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The Independent Online

Toulouse qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals following this convincing bonus-point victory. Maximum points for the French side means Pool Five rivals Cardiff Blues and Sale now lie six points behind the three-time champions with just one round of matches to go.

Florian Fritz bagged the opening try before second-half touchdowns from Jean Bouilhou, Cedric Heymans and Maxime Medard eased Guy Noves's side to victory and the knockout stages at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. Mike Brown and Ugo Monye, twice, crossed for the visitors, who suffered their fifth-successive defeat of this year's competition. This is the seventh season out of eight that the French giants have reached the last eight of Europe's premier competition.

Jean Baptiste-Elissalde opened the scoring with a penalty after 18 minutes, but it was the Guinness Premiership team who claimed the game's first try, barely five minutes later. A slick handling move put lock James Percival through a gap and, although his pass looked forward, full-back Brown was on hand to score under the posts. Nick Evans converted but Quins' joy was to prove short-lived.

Elissalde landed two more penalties before Toulouse struck with their first try. Heymans escaped the attention of Monye and David Strettle and his reverse pass found Fritz, who sauntered under the posts.

Toulouse set out after the restart with an attacking intent in a bid to achieve maximum points. And it was not long before the second try came, through flanker Bouilhou. Quins' misery was further compounded when prop Ceri Jones was shown a yellow-card for a clear trip on Elissalde.

Toulouse immediately capitalised on the numerical advantage and Heymans added a third in the left-hand corner. Full-back Medard then confirmed the home side's place in the quarter-finals with the fourth score and a bonus point.

Monye scored a late consolation for Quins with a superb solo effort and his skills were duly rewarded by the applause of the home supporters. The England international added his second from close-range with the last play of the game to make for a more respectable scoreline, but the damage had already been done.

Toulouse: Tries: Fritz, Bouilhou, Heymans, Medard; Cons: Elissade 2; Pens: Elissalde 3. Harlequins: Tries: Brown, Monye 2; Cons: Evans 3.

Toulouse: Medard; Donguy (Poitrenaud 27), Fritz, Jauzion, Heymans; Elissalde (Michalak 57), Kelleher; Poux (Montes 64), Lacombe, Lecouls, Millo-Chluski (Lamboley 41), Albacete, Bouilhou, Dustautoir, Sowerby (Picamoles 67).

Harlequins: Brown; Strettle (Williams 41), Tiesi, Mordt, Monye; Evans, Care (Dickson 61); Jones, Fuga, Andress, Percival, Robson, Guest (Robshaw 52), Skinner, Easter.

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

Toulouse have failed to reach the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup in only three of the competition's 15 stagings – 2001, 2002 and 2007. The French side won the cup in 1996, 2003 and 2005, and were finalists in 2004 and 2008.