Toulouse Olympique 26 Halifax 54
A confident Halifax side, showing a mixture of experience and blossoming youth, overcame a spirited but ultimately outclassed Toulouse Olympique in baking heat to win their leg of the Anglo-French challenge.
With the temperature touching 35 degrees and the referee allowing plenty of water breaks, Fax ran in nine tries all of which were converted by the impeccable Lee Paterson to bring up a deserved half century of points.
But for a late rally by the French side, who pulled back four tries in the closing minutes, the scoreboard would have been all the more impressive.
Paterson started the festivities with a try under the posts on seven minutes, with man of the match Sam Barlow notching Fax’s second on 13 minutes after a great break by stand off Anthony Bowman.
There could have been a great temptation to fling the ball about with abandon, but the Yorkshiremen played to a consistent game plan, and waited patiently for the gaps in the Toulouse defence to appear.
They were rewarded on 29 minutes when a simple switch move allowed Joe Chandler to crash over under the posts.
And despite leaking a try to the French winger Maze, Anthony Thackeraytook advantage of a massive dogleg in the Toulouse defence to touch down behind the sticks and make it 24-6 at half time.
Sam Barlow was having a field day, influential with the ball and causing the opposition defence trouble with his footwork and speed of thought.
Within 10 minutes of the restart the men from the Shay had notched a further three tries with a brace from Paul White, and Paul Handforth taking an inside ball from Paterson, who caused his opposite number trouble all evening.
Bowman stormed over from a short ball on 59 minutes and Ross Divorty completed the Fax spree on 73 minutes, racing through a gaping hole to touch down without a finger laid on him.
Four late tries to the French could not take the gloss off what had been a thoroughly professional performance played in tricky conditions and the small but hardy contingent of sunburnt Fax fans celebrated noisily in the Toulouse evening.
Toulouse Olympique: Adam Innes, Erwan Maze, Bruno Ormeno, Damien Coutourier, Antoine Reveillon, Seb Planas, Yoann Didone, David Delpoux, Mourad Kriouache, Jerome Gout, Cyril Moliner, Olivier Saintignan, Sylvain Houles. Subs: Yohan Barthau, Theo Gonzalez-Trique, Joris Canton, Tony Maurel
Halifax: Ryan Fieldhouse, Rob Worrincy, Lee Paterson, James Haley, Paul White, Anthony Bowman, Anthony Thackeray, Luke Ambler, Paul Handforth, Sean Hesketh, Dane Manning, Ross Divorty, Sam Barlow. Subs: Sean Penkywicz, Joe Chandler, Josh Barlow, Ian Davies