Rynhardt Elstadt put in a Man of the Match performance to help Toulouse come from behind to beat Gloucester 25-20 in the Champions Cup opener on Friday.
Last season’s semi-finalists Toulouse began their campaign on a successful note as they came back from a 20-9 half-time deficit to beat Johan Ackermann’s Gloucester away from home.
Bok flank Elstadt played a major role in the improved second-half performance from the French side as he terrorised Gloucester’s lineout, including a crucial steal off a Corne Fourie throw when the home side were five metres out from the Toulouse tryline at the death. In his post-match interview, Elstadt revealed that his friendship with former Stormers teammate and Gloucester lock Gerbrandt Grobler helped him read the opposition lineout.
By so doing he outshone opposite number Ruan Ackermann, who had a solid outing with 27m made from five carries along with a clean break and offload.
A brace of converted tries from scrumhalf Joe Simpson, along with two penalties from Danny Cipriani, appeared to have given Gloucester a strong lead going into the second half. However, Toulouse were able to hit back in emphatic fashion with a string of successful kicks from fullback Thomas Ramos and centre Romain Ntamack as well as a try from scrumhalf Sebastien Bezy.
The away victory could turn out to be a vital one in what is a competitive Pool 5, including Montpellier and Connacht. The defending French champions will host Connacht next week, while Gloucester face a tough trip to Montpellier.
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