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Leinster blow Toulouse away to book final date in Marseille

Toulouse have been just a little off color initially, and from the primary of two knock-ons by Julian Marchand, Furlong’s lengthy skip go for Lowe on the left wing would have completed any outhalf proud.

Toulouse scored the first try of the day through a breakaway Antoine Dupont effort. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Toulouse scored the primary attempt of the day via a breakaway Antoine Dupont effort. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

But when Gibson-Park went for a grubber on the blindside Antoine Dupont blocked, gathered and had clear daylight from contained in the Toulouse 22 all the best way to the Leinster line. Ramos transformed.

Next second focussed, Leinster merely renewed their offensive. Furlong’s tip-on put Doris via a spot however he fired his go at Keenan’s head. Sexton labored a variation on his wrap to hit Lowe on the sting earlier than Ringrose made inroads and Meafou got here via on Gibson-Park. Sexton made it a one-point sport.

Furlong alertly dived on a unfastened ball earlier than Matthis Lebel was offside and Sexton opted for the nook. Henshaw was launched off a powerful maul and Furlong and van der Flier additionally carried earlier than Gibson-Park went blind for Sexton to place Lowe over with a tip go inside as Toulouse struggled to reload. To be honest, any group would have completed so given the lightening fast ball.

But then Furlong hobbled off with an obvious return of his calf issues.

Soon although, a chronic interval of ball in play, accentuated by Ntamack’s kick down Keenan’s throat, may solely go well with Leinster. From Keenan’s counter, Ringrose once more carried effectively earlier than Leinster hit Lowe on the sting. Sexton’s present and go was utterly purchased by Rory Arnold – goodbye – and he weighed up his choices to hit van der Flier again on the within, Lebel’s robust deal with solely serving to to propel the flanker towards the road for Leinster’s second attempt.

Josh van der Flier scored Leinster’s second try off the back of a Sexton dummy. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Josh van der Flier scored Leinster’s second attempt off the again of a Sexton dummy. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Michael Ala’alatoa was focused on the subsequent put-in as Leinster’s scrum was destroyed and Ramos kicked the penalty, however Toulouse’s self-discipline started to noticeably waver.

Another nothing kick by Ntamack was returned with curiosity by Lowe earlier than Francois Cros went blatantly off his ft and dissent by Rynhardt Elstadt made Sexton’s penalty simpler.

Meafou then got here via on Gibson-Park much more blatantly to earn a yellow card. With Toulouse depowered, Sexton twice went to the nook, however from the primary Ramos prevented O’Brien from gathering Sexton’s cross-kick and Henshaw prematurely joined the maul to be pinged.

Leinster have been roared off with a 23-10 lead, their solely remorse being that it wasn’t extra.

Still that they had one other seven minutes to take advantage of the absence of Meafou.

Keenan brilliantly reclaimed a Sexton cross-kick after James Ryan’s line-out steal, however when Gibson-Park pulled the set off with a protracted go for Lowe, it was picked off by Ntamack. Ryan’s aspect entry ended one other assault earlier than Meafou returned, whereupon Leinster lastly struck.

James Lowe notched a double for the hosts. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
James Lowe notched a double for the hosts. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Molony’s line-out steal was backed up by Gibson-Park chasing and charging down Ntamack’s kick. Leinster went broad to Lowe, then again infield via massive carries by Ala’alatoa, Conan and Dan Sheehan, who made a big effect, earlier than Sexton’s floated go gave Lowe an untroubled second attempt which the skipper additionally transformed.

However, a sequence of penalties gave Toulouse inroads, and a pack energised by six reinforcements engineered a line-out maul attempt. Selevasio Tolofua tip-toeing to inside a fraction of the touchline for Ramos to transform from the touchline.

But from Lowe’s intercept and sharp kick on the flip, Leinster hemmed Toulouse into their very own 22, forcing the error and turning the screw for Ross Byrne to make it a three-score sport.

The enormous crowd may correctly benefit from the endgame and after Lowe reclaimed a Ringrose grubber, a nonetheless sprightly Keenan added the ultimate flourish when skipping via weary defenders.

Scoring sequence: 5 minutes Sexton pen 3-0; 7 minutes Dupont attempt, Ramos con 3-7; 13 minutes Sexton pen 6-7; 15 minutes Lowe attempt, Sexton con 13-7; 20 minutes van der Flier attempt, Sexton con 20-7; 24 minutes Ramos pen 20-10; 33 minutes Sexton pen 23-10; (half-time 23-10); 50 minutes Lowe attempt, Sexton con 30-10; 66 minutes Tolofua attempt, Ramos con 30-17; 74 minutes Byrne pen 33-17; 79 minutes Keenan attempt, Byrne con 40-17.

LEINSTER RUGBY: Hugo Keenan; Jimmy O’Brien, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (capt), Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong; Ross Molony, James Ryan; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Michael Ala’alatoa for Furlong (17 minutes), Dan Sheehan for Kelleher (47 minutes), Ciaran Frawley for Henshaw (65 minutes), Cian Healy for Porter, Luke McGrath for Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne for Sexton (all 68 minutes), Rhys Ruddock for van der Flier (73 minutes), Joe McCarthy for Ryan (76 minutes).

STADE TOULOUSAIN: Thomas Ramos; Juan Cruz Mallía, Pierre Fouyssac, Pita Ahki, Matthis Lebel; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand (capt), Dorian Aldegheri; Rory Arnold, Emmanuel Meafou; Rynhardt Elstadt, Francois Cros, Anthony Jelonch.

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka for Marchand, Rodrigue Neti for Baille, Selevasio Tolofua for Jelonch (all 52 minutes), David Ainu’u for Aldegheri, Thibaud Flament for Arnold (each 57 minutes), Joe Tekori for Meafou, Zack Holmes for Foussac (each 63 minutes), Martin Page Relo for Ahki (66 minutes), Baille for Neti (70 minutes).

Yellow card: Meafou (37-47 minutes).

Referee: Karl Dickson (England)

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