Toulouse remained unbeaten in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup after recording a hard-fought 32-17 bonus-point victory over Connacht at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.

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Tries from Sebastien Bezy, Yoann Huget, Jerome Kaino and Pita Ahki plus 12 points from the boot of Thomas Ramos was enough to secure maximum points for the four-time champions.

Connacht scored two tries of their own courtesy of Tom Farrell and Caolin Blade with Conor Fitzgerald kicking seven points.

Despite some early pressure from the hosts it was Connacht who opened the scoring.

Powerful lock Ultan Dillane put the visitors on the front-foot with a powerful carry. After being brought down the ball was spread wide for Farrell to race through a gap in the visiting defence before running in unopposed from 40 metres out. Fitzgerald improved Connacht’s lead with a difficult conversion.

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Toulouse replied almost instantly when Ramos made an incisive break before offloading to Bezy who raced through to touch down underneath the crossbar. Ramos was successful with the conversion to level the scores before putting the hosts ahead with a further three points a few minutes later.

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Connacht were soon celebrating their second try when a well-timed pass from Fitzgerald put Colby Fainga’a straight through a gap. The Australian galloped 50 metres up field before drawing in Ramos to put Blade over for the try with Fitzgerald converting.

Connacht were temporarily reduced to 14 men when Fainga’a was sent to the sin bin for a tip tackle on Romain Ntamack. Toulouse opted to go for the corner from the penalty and proceeded to build some pressure on the Connacht line.

After a few powerful carries the ball was put through the hands for Maxime Medard to put Huget over for a try at the far right-hand corner. Ramos missed the conversion from the touchline meaning Toulouse held a slender 15-14 lead at the interval.

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The visitors began the second half on the front-foot and regained the lead with a drop goal from Fitzgerald.

Toulouse upped the tempo and began to apply some severe pressure to the Connacht try-line with Ramos putting the French outfit back in front with a simple penalty from right in front of the posts. The hosts had the bit between their teeth and continued to press on the Connacht line.

After laying siege to the visiting line former All Black loose-forward Kaino powered over from short-range for Toulouse’s third try with Ramos yet again successful with the conversion. Connacht had a couple of opportunities in the last quarter but were not able to get over the line.

Toulouse sealed the bonus point in the last play of the game when Ahki squeezed over from short range with Ramos converting.

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