Marfaing teaches Swansea a lesson in French

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The Independent Online

Not a good weekend for the Welsh clubs abroad. In fact, both Cardiff and Swansea not only lost in France, they were outclassed and overwhelmed.

Not a good weekend for the Welsh clubs abroad. In fact, both Cardiff and Swansea not only lost in France, they were outclassed and overwhelmed.

There may not be anything unique in that as far as the Heineken Cup is concerned ­ no Welsh team has ever won in France in five years ­ but with the bulk of the Welsh side on display in Montferrand and Toulouse it must be a cause of huge concern to the national coach, Graham Henry.

Having taken his Welsh team to a first victory on French soil in 25 years last season, and then masterminded a second defeat of Raphael Ibañez's team before the World Cup, Henry was looking to witness a further progression from his leading players in the Heineken Cup.

There were no signs of that in Montferrand, where Cardiff capitulated 46-13, and little or no evidence as Swansea shipped six tries at Le Stadium.

Swansea simply could not keep up with the pace of the home side, who turned the game into something of a carnival for the 10,000 fans, who witnessed another thrilling exhibition of rugby from the pre-tournament favourites.

With Toulouse having dealt so efficiently with Bath the previous weekend, this crushing victory was further proof that the French champions mean to regain the Heineken Cup after a four-year gap. The compelling way in which they link forwards and backs in the loose, in union with the great force and magnificent technique they display at the set-pieces, makes them an almost irresistible force.

That was certainly how Swansea saw them. The All Whites skipper, Scott Gibbs, recognised that Toulouse were "a team playing at the top of their game", yet despite defeat, he still believes his side can be "there or thereabouts" at the end of the tournament.

If that is to happen they will have to take maximum points from their next two games in the so-called "Pool of Death" ­ Pool 2 ­ away and then home to Bath. As for Toulouse, their next two assignments are relatively easier, against the Italian side, Padova, leaving them with every chance of staying in control at the top of the Pool with four wins out of four.

While Emile Ntamack was the slayer of Bath, it was his fellow wing Michel Marfaing who did for Swansea. He scored all 17 of his side's first-half points, including two tries, and went on amass a match tally of 26.

Toulouse: Tries Marfaing 2, Ntamack, Pelous, Paillat, Fillol; Conversions Marfaing 5; Penalties Marfaing 2. Swansea: Penalty Davies

Toulouse: S Ougier (R Paillat, 63); E Ntamack, C Desbrosse, L Stensness, M Marfaing; A Penaud, J Cazalbou (J Fillol, 73); F Tournaire (L Esposito, 50), Y Bru, C Soulette (F Gentil, 71), F Belot (capt, H Miorin, 54), F Pelous, D Lacroix (M Lievremont, 70), C Labit, S Dispagne.

Swansea: Richard Jones (K Morgan, 51); S Payne (A Lawson, 48), M Taylor, S Gibbs (capt), M Robinson; L Davies, Robert Jones (A Booth, 65); D Morris, G Jenkins (C Wells, 76), B Evans, T Maullin, A Moore, P Moriarty (J Bater, 68), C Charvis (D Thomas, 58), L Jones.

Referee: E Morrison (England).

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