Rugby - Top 14

Toulouse hit back by thumping Bayonne

Defending champions Toulouse hit back at their critics with a comprehensive 35-6 trouncing of Bayonne at the Stade Jean-Dauger.

 
Toulouse hit back with win - Rugby - Top 14 AFP
 

Amid whispers of a crisis at the club, the 19-times French champions silenced the doubters with a four-try bonus point victory that sees them move into second spot in the Top 14 table.

Luke McAlister was the standout performer for the visitors, the former All Black ending with a 20-point haul to leave the four-times European Cup winners two points behind leaders Toulon, who play Castres on Saturday.

"We needed to rediscover our passion. This is sport, we are not working in a factory," said Toulouse manager Guy Noves.

"This was a good Toulouse performance at a level where we should be at this stage of the season and with the European Cup starting in a few weeks."

The victory was in stark contrast to last week's 34-20 defeat to Perpignan - Toulouse's second loss in five games, which had led to suggestions of a collapse at the club.

Such talk proved premature at best as tries from Timoci Matanavou, Yannick Nyanga, Jean Bouilhou and McAlister saw Toulouse romp home against a Bayonne side that failed to match their strength and aggression.

"We were eaten up," Bayonne fly-half Benjamin Boyet said. "We didn't know how to rival Toulouse physically and we spent all the second period in their territory. Courage is not enough."

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