Heineken Cup - Quins leave Toulouse stunned

Sun, 18 Dec 18:45:00 2011

Harlequins claimed a shock 31-24 victory at four-time champions Toulouse to throw Pool Six of the Heineken Cup wide open.

Harlequin's players celebrate after winning the European Cup rugby union match Toulouse vs Harlequins on December 18, 2011 at the Stadium Municipal in Toulouse - 0

Mike Brown scored two tries, either side of Joe Gray's first-half effort, while Nick Evans kicked 16 points as Harlequins became the first team to win a European tie at Toulouse in almost three years.

Harlequins led 15-10 at half-time but were forced to survive a second-half onslaught as well as the loss of sin-binned captain Nick Easter for the final 10 minutes.

Despite that, Evans kicked two late penalties after Brown's second try to claim a famous win while Toulouse were left to rue 12 missed points from the boot of Luke McAlister.

Scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain scored a try among his 15 points though that was not enough for Toulouse, who remain top of Pool Six, but now only a point ahead of Harlequins and four clear of Gloucester.

Pool 1

Munster withstood a spirited comeback to beat Scarlets 19-13 and emerge with their fourth successive pool win in this season's Heineken Cup.

James Coughlan's second-half try while Johnathan Edwards was in the sin-bin, allied to four penalty goals from Ronan O'Gara, kept the province's European challenge on the rails at Thomond Park.

Scarlets hit back with a converted try from replacement Ken Owens and had they been able to convert more of their chances, they may have had enough momentum in the final quarter to spring a surprise result. But Nigel Davies' young side could not make use of their greater share of possession and streetwise Munster have now tightened their grip on Pool One ahead of the two final rounds.

Northampton collected their first Heineken Cup win of the season with a bonus-point 45-0 success over Castres at Franklin's Gardens.

The notable action came in the final quarter of the match as the Saints scored five tries to emphasise their superiority over a very poor French side. Stephen Myler kicked the remaining 20 points for Northampton.

Ben Foden scored two tries and further scores from Vasily Artemyev, Mikey Haywood and Greig Tonks sealed a comfortable victory.

With both teams already seemingly out of the competition, the game lacked real bite as two under-strength sides struggled to put in a performance. There was a muted atmosphere as the crowd accepted there was little resting on the game, with the Saints frustrated by Castres' limited game plan.

The French slowed the game down at every opportunity and were content to allow their outside-half Pierre Bernard to kick away what limited possession they gained. Northampton should have capitalised on their huge share of possession early on, but it was not until late in the game that they were able to do so.

PA Sport

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