Gloucester Rugby’s Heineken Champions Cup participation came to an end at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday afternoon as, despite a spirited effort, Toulouse ran out winners by 35 points to 14.
The Cherry and Whites were competitive well into the second half as they kept hopes alive of securing the bonus point win that would have secured a spot in the quarter-finals.
However, Toulouse proved to be just too strong as they took a firm grip on proceedings in the second half despite Gloucester Rugby giving them some scares at times.
In fact, Gloucester Rugby stunned the home crowd by taking the lead within three minutes. A well-worked lineout move took play into the home 22 before Lloyd Evans floated a cross-kick for Louis Rees-Zammit to gather and score. Billy Twelvetrees converted for a 0-7 lead.
Toulouse hit back with a catach and drive try from Joe Tekori, and then took the lead with an excellent try as Antoine Dupoint made a clinical break and Romain Ntamack was on his shoulder to take the offload and score.
Gloucester Rugby had seen some good scoring chances come and go, and were punished harshly as the half hour approached.
The same lineout move created a great attacking opportunity, and there looked to be an overlap on the left. However, the ball went loose and Tomas Ramos pounced on it and pinned his ears back. Rees-Zammit got back to haul him down but Lloyd Evans was yellow carded for a high tackle, and Rees-Zammit hobbled off with an ankle injury.
The home team immediately took full advantage as Ntamack went under the posts and there was now daylight at 21-7.
Credit to the Cherry and Whites, they hit back before half time. Evans returned from the sinbin and his beautifully delayed pass put Jason Woodward through a gap and pver the line.
Twelvetrees converted and Gloucester Rugby were still very much in it at 21-14 with 40 minutes left to play.
However, despite a few fleeting chances for the Cherry and Whites, Toulouse monopolised possession after the resumption and started to turn the screw. Gloucester Rugby lost Alex Craig and Alex Seville to the sin bin and tries from Marchand and Baille closed out a 35-14 victory.