Heineken Cup Pool 3: Connacht shock European giants Toulouse
Last Updated: 09/12/13 11:15am
Connacht: Recorded one of the biggest wins in their history
Connacht produced one of the biggest upsets in Heineken Cup history as they defeated four-time champions Toulouse 16-14 at Stade Ernest-Wallon.
The Irish province, who are bottom of the of the RaboDirect PRO12 table having won just one of nine matches, edged home following a try from Kieran Marmion and 11 points from the boot of Dan Parks.
A star-studded Toulouse line-up could only muster two tries from Jean-Pascal Barraque and Thierry Dusautoir as the visitors' defence held firm in the closing stages.
The historic result means Connacht are just one point behind Toulouse and Saracens at the top of Pool 3 with half of the games completed.
The French giants could even have lost by more points in the end had the TMO not spotted a knock-on after Robbie Henshaw had streaked away for what seemed like a brilliant second-half try Connacht.
The decision could have been crucial as seven minutes later Toulouse kicked to the left corner and managed to get skipper Dusautoir over for a try which Lionel Beauxis converted from the touchline.
That cut the gap to two points and set-up a thrilling final 15 minutes in which Connacht never stopped taking the game to their illustrious opponents while also producing superb defence.
Parks missed with a drop-goal and a 50-metre penalty in those closing minutes to add to the drama, but there was no denying the Irish side.
Toulouse had not been beaten at Stade Ernest Wallon for five years in the Heineken Cup, yet they only led for five minutes in the match. Parks put his side ahead with a 13th-minute penalty and then added a drop-goal three minutes later to make it 6-0.
Barraque missed with two penalty kicks for the home side, but made up for that with a brilliant individual try on the stroke of half-time, dummying past two defenders before touching down, with the conversion making it 7-6.
Parks sent over penalty shortly after the restart to give Connacht the lead again and then scrum-half Marmion rounded off a brilliant right touchline move involving Henshaw and Fionn Carr by burrowing over for a try which was confirmed by the TMO.
Parks converted superbly from well out wide to give Connacht a nine-point lead, which they defended superbly despite Dusautoir's try.