After a scintillating first half from Gloucester Rugby, Toulouse dominated proceedings after the break, starving the Cherry and Whites of possession and fighting back to earn a very professional 20-25 Heineken Champions Cup victory.
After a scintillating first half from Gloucester Rugby, Toulouse dominated proceedings after the resumption, starving the Cherry and Whites of possession and fighting back to earn a very professional 20-25 Heineken Champions Cup victory.
The Cherry and Whites went into half-time leading by 20 points to 9, and were good value for it. In fact, they came close to adding a third try on the stroke of half-time. Had it been scored, who knows how the game would have panned out from there.
Gloucester Rugby had soaked up some early pressure from Toulouse, and went 0-3 down to a Thomas Ramos penalty, but then stunned the pre-tournament favourites with two stunning long-range tries from Joe Simpson, both converted by Danny Cipriani to open up a 14-3 lead.
The respective fly-halves then kicked two penalties apiece so, with half-time approaching, the Cherry and Whites were pushing hard for a third try and went into the break with their tails up and the Kingsholm crowd buzzing.
However, the expensively assembled and star-studded visitors took an iron grip on proceedings in the second 40 minutes, keeping hold of possession for long periods and slowly but surely, wearing the home team down.
Penalties from Ntamack and Ramos made it 20-15, before Sébastien Bézy wriggled his way over on the hour mark after a long period of pressure in the home 22, Ramos converting to complete the comeback as the visitors took a 20-22 lead.
Gloucester Rugby emptied the tank in the final quarter looking to retake the lead, but crucial errors, especially at the lineout, thwarted the efforts and Ramos extended the lead with a 68th minute penalty.
Still the Cherry and Whites battled and there were a couple of late chances, including a five metre lineout, but it wasn’t to be as Toulouse closed out a hard-fought win.