DCSIMG

Leicester 9 - 5 Toulouse: Toby Flood kicks Leicester to memorable triumph

  • by ANDREW BALDOCK
 

Leicester sent four-time European champions Toulouse skidding out of the Heineken Cup at a snow-swept Welford Road to book their place in this season’s quarter-finals.

The Tigers will be away to Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon in early April.

Fly-half Toby Flood was the Leicester matchwinner, kicking three penalties, while Toulouse marksmen Lionel Beauxis and Luke McAlister missed five shots at goal between them. Flood, though, could have gone from hero to villain when he was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on 12 minutes from time, but the Tigers held out.

Toulouse wing Yann Huget scored the only try in a Pool Two encounter dominated by the wintry weather, with Leicester joining their Aviva Premiership colleagues Harlequins and Saracens as quarter-finalists alongside Toulon, Munster, Ulster, Clermont Auvergne and Montpellier.

It was the first time since 2007 that Toulouse failed to progress from their group as Leicester thwarted them on the back of Flood’s kicking accuracy and mighty contributions from Louis Deacon, Tom Youngs and Julian Salvi.

Leicester flew out of the blocks, going within inches of claiming a fifth-minute try after Adam Thompstone’s midfield break. Thompstone had Niall Morris on the overlap, but Morris lost control of the ball under pressure from Vincent Clerc’s tackle.

Tigers, though, gained a penalty from the resulting scrum, and Flood secured an early 3-0 advantage.

Beauxis missed two penalties in four minutes before Leicester flanker Steve Mafi went off injured and Crane joined the action. The visitors then wasted a third penalty chance after McAlister took over from Beauxis, only to hit the post.

Toulouse thought they had posted the game’s opening try five minutes before half-time. No 8 Louis Picamoles scattered the Leicester defence with a powerful run, but Tigers got enough defenders around him to make any ruling inconclusive. Flood then booted a superb penalty from just inside his own half.

The visitors needed an early second-half score and after 49 minutes McAlister sent a steepling kick in Mathew Tait’s direction, and when he fumbled it Huget reacted quickest to slither his way over for a try.

Flood’s yellow card meant frayed nerves yet Leicester sealed the deal when Deacon and Geoff Parling combined to steal a 78th-minute lineout.

 

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