Teenager's miss proves costly
TOP 14 WRAP: Toulouse held on for a topsy-turvy 38-37 victory over Bordeaux-Begles.
It came as teenager Matthieu Jalibert missed a long range penalty after the final buzzer on Saturday.
Jalibert's last gasp miss, that shaved the outside of the post, ruined what had otherwise been a faultless display from the 18-year-old who kicked 17 of his team's points.
But Toulouse scraped through in a crazy nine-try festival won by Samoan lock Joe Tekori's try eight minutes from time converted by Thomas Ramos.
"We went through every state: scoring 24 points in 16 minutes and then after 20 minutes conceding 34 where we went off the rails," said Toulouse coach Ugo Mola.
"It's almost too much to be true. We're the only ones who can go from indisputable talent to catastrophic mistakes."
It was a controversial ending as moments earlier, Bordeaux, leading 37-31 at the time, seemed to have killed the game off with a fifth try of their own, only to have the score chalked off for obstruction.
That gave Toulouse a penalty they kicked to the corner before winning the line-out and driving Tekori over.
"I'm not going to be picky about taking four points but Bordeaux deserved to leave with more than one (losing bonus) point," admitted Mola.
Ironically, in a game dominated by Bordeaux's forwards, it was the Toulouse pack that snatched victory.
The first period was a game of two halves and a stunning seven tries.
For 20 minutes, Toulouse were scintillating, opening up a 24-3 lead.
Fullback Ramos opened the scoring from the tee before his return pass to a charging Cheslin Kolbe saw the South African wing dot down for the first try on 10 minutes, his fifth of the season.
Toulouse were on fire and a sweeping backs move saw Kolbe and Ramos set up right wing Sofiane Guitoune to increase the advantage.
Jalibert got Bordeaux off the mark with a penalty but Toulouse's third try was a thing of beauty as Kolbe rose on the wing to catch Australian fly-half Zack Holmes's clever chip and then found New Zealander Carl Axtens inside who helped the ball on to hooker Julien Marchand to go under the posts.
That served to kicked Bordeaux into life and their forwards powered hooker Adrien Pelissie over the line to give the visitors hope.
The worm had turned and Fijian prop Peni Ravai made a powerful break before offloading one-handed to scrum-half Yann Lesgourgues to dart over.
Moments later a storming run from Pelissie set up an overlap on the left for Fijian powerhouse Metuisela Talebula to bundle over.
Ravai was then instrumental in winning a turnover and breaking at pace before another one-handed offload started a sweep of passes to the left where Jean-Pascal Barraque slipped over in the corner.
Guitoune was yellow carded for a high tackle on Barraque as he grounded and Jalibert added a fourth conversion and second penalty to gave Bordeaux a 34-24 lead at the break after a run of 28 unanswered points.
But Bordeaux handed the 14 men a route back into the game just after the restart with a misplaced pass that Kolbe picked up and streaked clear to score under the posts.
Ramos's conversion meant Toulouse had outscored Bordeaux 7-3 with a numerical disadvantage.
Bordeaux dominated territorially in the second half through their clear advantage in forward power, but dogged home defending kept them from crossing the whitewash.
"We lost this match in the second half with all those chances close to the line where we failed to score," moaned Bordeaux president Laurent Marti.
"I'm really very frustrated and very disappointed."
They had to content themselves with a third Jalibert penalty while Jean-Baptiste Dubie hit the post with a drop goal attempt.
They thought they had finally killed the game seven minutes from time through a try from replacement full-back Geoffrey Cros but it was chalked off for a controversial obstruction call.
Tekori was driven over for Toulouse before Jalibert's heart-breaking miss.