The clash of the Titans turned to the advantage of the Irish. Much higher, more impactful, more precise, better organized, Leinster outclassed Toulouse who showed their limits (40-17), this Saturday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The reigning European champions will not reach the final, in two weeks in Marseille against Racing 92 or La Rochelle who face each other this Sunday (4 p.m.) in Lens.
What you must remember
The people of Toulouse expected it. They got in the ring and started boxing without any observation rounds. Ugo Mola's players were shaken, tossed about, sometimes even crushed. And, without a trickster from Antoine Dupont, recovering a blocked ball in a mouse hole and spinning to the test eighty meters further unopposed (7th), the addition to the break would have turned to humiliation. Admittedly, the reigning European champions were quite happy to turn at half-time at 23-10, only thirteen points behind.
Drunk by the furious pace imposed by Jonathan Sexton and his teammates, their short passes, their sharp runs and their flawless organization, the Toulouse people first made mistakes to stem the Irish waves. Sexton was responsible for converting the penalties into points (5th, 13th) then he decided to bet on the penalties. Winger Lowe found himself behind the line after a series of charges from Leinster forwards (15th). In the process, on a breakthrough and a straight pass from Sexton, an impressive playmaker, the third line Van der Fliet flattened in the in-goal (20-7, 20th). The yellow card from second line Meafou for two inappropriate charges did not help Toulouse's affairs.
Toulouse's counter will remain stuck at 5 European champion titles. Leinster, if they win the final against Racing 92 or La Rochelle, will join them at the top of the list.
"We took a lesson in pragmatism and strategy, we couldn't get our heads out of the water. Antoine Dupont, the Toulouse scrum-half after the defeat against Leinster.