Swarming Wasps torture Toulouse

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Wasps 77

Toulouse 17

This was more like it. A Wasps team with a sting. It must be a long time since the mighty Toulouse have had more than 50 points put past them, but that was the unbelievable scoreline at Loftus Road where Wasps were playing more for pride than anything else in the Heineken Cup.

A place in the quarter-finals of the European tournament was not a reality after Wasps lost their opening two matches against Cardiff and Munster. They need favours if they are to salvage anything but if Cardiff beat Milan today that is that. But at least Wasps are back on track.

They ran in some wonderful tries but the pick of the nine came in the second half and summed up the Wasps approach to the modern game of rugby.

Michel Marfaing made a soccer-like dribbling run hacking the ball ahead of him and splitting the Wasps' defence. He had crossed the Wasps line and was in the act of diving on the ball when Alex King snatched it up and started the move of the season, let alone the match.

The fly-half jinked 30 yards upfield over his 25 before spinning the ball out to Andy Reed, who made lots more ground before letting Lawrence Dallaglio take up the running. Nick Greenstock had the honour of racing the remaining 40 yards for the first of his two tries. The near 7,000 crowd went wild, so did the Wasps. But they were not even halfway to their monstrous score.

Toulouse just had no answer to the onslaught. If they tried to contain the rampant Wasps backs then they were just as likely to see a forward bullocking through the defences, witness hooker Simon Mitchell's try from a tap penalty and Chris Sheasby's late offering over on the left wing.

Greenstock's second was almost as sensational as his first. A chip ahead from King was gratefully scooped up by the centre and he scorched some 70 yards before touching down. He eschewed the chance of a hat-trick in favour of giving young Paul Sampson a taste of blood. The schoolboy sprint champion raced over in the corner with Toulouse lagging way behind.

The storming of Heineken Cup holders Toulouse began almost from the first whistle as the pack swarmed all over their opponents. A couple of dazzling breaks first by Shane Roiser then by Va'aiga Tuigamala saw Andy Reed, on his first competitive outing for two years, mark his debut with a try after picking up and being driven over. Jon Ufton landed the first of his batch of kicks - five penalties and six conversions for a personal haul of 27 points.

Toulouse rarely had time to pause for breath. Although they did get in front, once when Thomas Castaignede landed an early penalty and again after the France centre ran on to a superb cross-kick by Christophe Deylaud, beat the cover and then sent in his captain Emile Ntamack for the first of their tries.

But Wasps came back instantly. Their relentlessness, which was a feature of their game throughout, took them back on a quick counter-attack and after a series of short thrusts Roiser cut through, and Wasps were away again.

A string of penalties by the left-footed Ufton punished the Toulouse side and left them seemingly out of it. The French side were certainly unsteady under the pressure of the Wasps ferocious tackling and were unable to match the accuracy and efficacy of such stopping power. The number of head-high tackles on Wasps would have had Madame La Guillotine applauding.

Wasps: J Ufton; P Sampson, N Greenstock, V Tuigamala, S Roiser; A King, A Gomarsall (M Fraser, 76); D Molloy (D Macer, 72), S Mitchell, W Green (I Dunstan, 74), D Cronin (M Greenwood 65), A Reed, L Dallaglio (capt), M White (P Volley 40-42), C Sheasby.

Toulouse: S Ougier; E Ntamack (capt), M Marfaing, T Castaignede (O Carbonneau, 24), D Berty (X Garbajosa, 44); C Deylaud, J Tilloles; C Califano, C Guiter (P Lasserre, 40), J-L Jordana, H Miorin, F Belot, J-L Cester (D Lacroix, 54), H Manent, S Dispagne.

Referee: G Simmonds (Wales).