Toulouse could still compete an impressive double this season after defeating Castres in the Top 14 quarter-final
They recorded a 35-12 victory over Castres in their Top 14 quarter-final clash at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Saturday afternoon.
Guy Noves' men, who progressed to the Heineken Cup final with an equally impressive victory over Leinster last weekend, ran in four tries in total, with Vincent Clerc helping himself to a brace and Maxime Medard and Yann David both scoring one apiece. Castres rarely threatened the Toulouse line and had just four penalties from the boot of Romain Teulet to show for their efforts.
Just over two minutes had elapsed when Castres scrum-half Alexandre Albouy took the ball into contact on the end of the Toulouse 22. It came out on the visitors' side but they failed to gather it, allowing Gregory Lamboley to pilfer possession back for Toulouse. The flanker bounded upfield and then nimbly stepped inside one man before off-loading to the supporting Byron Keller, who immediately sprayed it wide to Medard. The fullback cruised past Marc Andreu to score.
Toulouse struck again before the midway point of the first half, Clerc doing supremely well in using his strength and pace to great effect as he rounded both Teulet and Andreu on the outside to cross in the corner.
Teulet's ever-reliable boot kept a game - but clearly rattled - Castres side in the contest and they twice managed to draw to within eight points before Toulouse finally pulled clear in the final quarter.
After Elissalde had stroked over a penalty on the hour - his third of the afternoon - Clerc scored his second try of the afternoon on 63 minutes, the prolific winger putting the finishing touches on a quite majestic cross-field attack which had featured sublime off-loads from Medard and Vilimoni Delasau.
Five minutes later and they were over again, David sliding over in the right corner after more wonderfully intricate passing and incisive running lines, with replacement forwards Jean Bouilhou and Finau Maka both playing leading roles in the build-up.
Castres were by now a thoroughly frustrated bunch and this manifested itself in a late hit by Albouy on David after the latter had already touched down, thus sparking a minor melee which resulted in Castres lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega being sent to the bin.
Toulouse's interest in the fracas was half-hearted at best, though, as their thoughts had already turned to next weekend's mouth-watering semi-final showdown with Perpignan.