Toulouse lock Emmanuel Meafou put in a man-of-the-match performance against Sale Sharks on Saturday, which included a massive carry that floored Manu Tuilagi.
Australian-born Meafou qualifies for France this year, having completed his required residency and now holds a French passport.
Impressing on the big stage
The 24-year-old second rower is pressing for Test selection and put in an eye-catching performance against Sale Sharks.
He made the second most metres with ball in hand in the match (44), with Romain Ntamack gaining 76, and scored a try in the 5-27 victory.
The 140+ kilogram lock stands over two metres tall, making him an imposing prospect to bring to the ground, and even if you do go in low and hard, you can still come off second best, as Tuilagi found out.
After the hour mark, the second rower charged at the Sale Sharks‘ defensive line and swatted off an attempted tackle from Tuilagi, with the England centre face-planting into the ground.
😤 Emmanuel Meafou makes Manu Tuilagi eat dirt.#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/xoGVllccPj
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) January 14, 2023
‘Massive for us’
After the match, Toulouse assistant coach Jerome Kaino spoke to BT Sport and sang the praises of the young lock.
Kaino was asked about the importance of Meafou, especially since the retirement of Joe Tekori.
“He massive for us; to have someone that big and have the skillset that he has is incredible,” Kaino said.
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“It allows us a point of difference, in terms, of how we want to play and how we want to use the forwards.
“If he keeps playing like that, it will definitely gives us an advantage in the way we want to play the game,” Kaino added.
Story of the match
Sale got off to a rocky start, with both their starting props forced off the pitch just 15 seconds into the match.
Nick Schonert and Simon McIntyre collided head-first into one another in a tackle, forcing them both off the pitch.
It went from bad to worse for Sale as Cobus Wiese was shown a straight red card for a dangerous ruck clear out.
Sale held out until the break holding a 5-3 advantage thanks to an Akker van der Merwe try, but two second-half tries, one from Meafou and another from Guillaume Cramont, along with 17 points from the boot of Melvyn Jaminet, saw Toulouse secure their place in the round of 16.
As for the hosts, they now face a must-win clash at Ulster in the final round of the pool stages if they are to proceed in the competition.