reports from Toulouse
Toulouse 30 Swansea 3
Emile N'Tamack believes his French club side can prove as good travellers as some of his country's finest clarets and become the first winners of the Heineken Cup when they play Cardiff at the Arms Park on Sunday.
Although Cardiff will have the advantage of playing within decent punting distance of their own ground in the showpiece final, the mercurial winger is convinced Toulouse can transport their devastating home form across the Channel and emerge as the European champions.
In the wake of their systematic semi-final demolition of the Welsh cup holders, Swansea, at Des Sept-Deniers on Saturday, N'Tamack insists they will go out and attack Cardiff by playing positive rugby. "We have only one style of rugby we like to play at Toulouse and that is the way we played against Swansea," he said.
"Cardiff are a fine side with many internationals but I am confident of Toulouse winning. Maybe, as this is the first year of the tournament, the Heineken Cup is even more important to us than winning the French championship."
If Cardiff are to be the first to get their name on the new trophy, they are going to have to tame the Toulouse pack. Swansea were simply outgunned and outmuscled. The pride and passion was there but their captain, Stuart Davies, admitted: "We did not do ourselves justice, we did not provide a stable platform up front."
The Toulouse pack, in which the No 8 Sylvain Dispagne was outstanding, were awarded with a penalty try just before half-time when the Swansea scrum creaked and then collapsed as it was crabbed sideways in the shadow of their posts.
That came as a hammer blow to the All Whites as they were preparing to turn and face a stiff breeze that they had failed to capitalise upon. They also had to contend with the unpredictable and frustrating French outside-half Christian Deylaud having one of his purple patches.
The home backs were also always the more threatening,though the loss of the influential and in-form Andy Moore with major knee damage certainly hampered Swansea's cause.
Robert Jones, foiled in his hopes of celebrating his MBE in style, did his best to lift his side but late tries from the flanker Herve Manent and centre Eric Artiguste, backed up by Deylaud's impeccable kicking, condemned Swansea.
Toulouse: Tries Manent, Artiguste, penalty try; Conversions Deylaud 3; Penalties Deylaud 3. Swansea: Penalty Williams.
Toulouse: S Ougier; E N'Tamack (capt), E Artiguste, T Castaignede (O Carbonneau, 77), D Berty (U Mola, 61); C Deylaud, J Cazalbou; C Califano (P Lasserre, 67), P Soula, C Portolan, H Miorin, F Belot, D Lacroix (R Castel, 56), H Manent, S Dispagne.
Swansea: R Boobyer; A Harris, M Taylor, D Weatherley, Simon Davies; A Williams, R Jones; C Loader, G Jenkins, K Colclough, A Moore (M Thomas, 37), S Moore, A Reynolds (M Evans, 29), R Appleyard, Stuart Davies (capt).
Referee: J Fleming (Scotland).Reuse content