Brive upset Toulouse
December 6, 2009
Brive fly-half Fabrice Estebanez slotted three drop-goals in his side's victory over Toulouse
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Brive held off a second half fightback from Toulouse to record a 27-21 victory in their Top 14 clash at Stade Amedee-Domenech.
The home side shrugged off their recent swine flu woes to make a bright start with two tries in the opening six minutes from winger Nicolas Jeanjean to seize control of the contest. Toulouse fly-half David Skrela, in his first start of the season, stopped the rot with a penalty on the quarter hour but they were soon under pressure again with centre Florian Fritz doing just enough to deny Fijian winger Vili Waqaseduadua midway through the half.
Fly-half Fabrice Estebanez extended Brive's lead with a long-range drop goal and he added another before the break to take the hosts into an 18-3 lead. Skrela reduced the arrears before the break with his second penalty but was replaced at half-time by Frederic Michalak.
Coach Guy Noves' tactical switch had the desired effect with Cedric Heymans crossing within a minute of the re-start to spark the visitors into life. Michalak added the testing conversion and his side's comeback gathered further momentum when Fritz dotted down ten minutes later to bring the sides level but Michalak could not land the conversion.
A penalty from fullback Alexis Palisson eased the home crowd's nerves before a third drop goal from Estebanez edged them further ahead but Michalak clawed his side back with his first penalty but they were to be denied by a determined Brive side.
The victory was Brive's second in a row following last weekend's 25-3 away success at Montpellier and extends new coach Ugo Mola's impressive run since taking charge with his side having lost just one of their last five games. The result will have also provided a timely boost to the Limousin club as they prepare for the visit of London Irish in the Heineken Cup next weekend.
Defeat for Toulouse extends a miserable run that has seen them lose three of their last five encounters and it will serve as a wake-up call ahead of back-to-back European clashes with Cardiff Blues starting with a trip to Wales on Saturday.