James Lowe at the double in Leinster’s Champions Cup demolition of Toulouse | Champions Cup & More Trending News

Penalty pleasure for Toulouse in Dublin final week however little greater than punishment seven days on. Leinster produced one of the most emphatic performances in current European historical past to sink the defending champions and attain a sixth last.

It was each bit as dominant as the scoreline suggests and whereas the Aviva Stadium was a sea of blue, having been painted Munster purple seven days in the past, it’d as effectively have been inexperienced. Leinster are a Test aspect in all however identify.

They lined up with 13 Ireland internationals in their beginning XV and the identical quantity of gamers in their 23 who featured towards France in Paris this 12 months. Toulouse don’t precisely lack Test gamers themselves however for all their counterattacking threats, and their star man at scrum-half in Antoine Dupont, they merely couldn’t reside with Leinster’s energy and poise.

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Leinster scored 4 tries, two coming from James Lowe who’s now one behind Chris Ashton’s season report of 11. They have been damaging at the breakdown, swarming with the intent that the current champions sides of Saracens used to, and with Josh van der Flier additional enhancing his popularity as one of the most interesting opensides round. But above all else there was a slickness to Leinster’s play Toulouse couldn’t deal with.

Johnny Sexton loved the variety of afternoon a fly-half of his calibre ought to have together with his aspect having fun with a lot fast ball. Indeed, he was removed from alone in showcasing his expertise however whether or not or not it’s flat passes to the oncoming Garry Ringrose or pinpoint crossfield kicks to his again three, his was a supreme exhibiting.

It was swiftly adopted by a willpower to make sure that they make amends for his or her 2019 last defeat by Saracens. “I never thought that I’d get another chance, so that’s great and we’re so driven to put a fifth star on the jersey,” stated the 36-year-old. “We’ve got to a final but that’s not where we set our aspirations.”

All issues thought of it was the type of efficiency that may resonate all the solution to Lens, the place Racing 92 face La Rochelle on Sunday for the proper to face Leinster in the last.

It stays to be seen whether or not Tadhg Furlong shall be match for that match, the Ireland tighthead prop limping off after 17 minutes having already demonstrated his pleasant dexterity with some pretty quick passes and a spectacular long-range ball to Hugo Keenan on the left.

Keenan then darted his means into the Toulouse 22 however Jamison Gibson-Park’s grubber was seized upon by Dupont, who discovered himself with a transparent run to the try-line. If it was a reminder of the risks Toulouse pose, it was additionally a wake-up name for Leinster, who responded with tries from Lowe and Van der Flier earlier than half-time.

Hugo Keenan of Leinster celebrates after scoring his side’s fourth try during the Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Toulouse at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Hugo Keenan touches down Leinster’s fourth attempt. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile/Getty Images

Furlong’s departure did give Toulouse the ascendancy at the scrum and with it a foothold however they have been unable so as to add to the scoreboard past a Tomas Ramos penalty. Dupont flickered in glimpses however a chronic interval earlier than half-time when Toulouse went by section after section round midway earlier than a wayward move, which went straight into contact, summed up their opening half. Emmanuel Meafou was in the sin-bin by this stage, his frustration evidently getting the higher of him.

Toulouse’s luck was nonetheless out after the restart – Jack Conan was lucky to flee a yellow card for a visit on Romain Ntamack – but when they really feel they didn’t get their share of the choices from the referee, Karl Dickson, it was not the purpose why they misplaced.

Lowe’s second attempt got here with half an hour nonetheless to play – a walkover effort after Sexton’s lengthy move – and whereas Toulouse responded with a close-range attempt from a driving maul by Selevasio Tolofua the sport was lengthy since up for them. Keenan’s late attempt – simply deserts for his performances – put the exclamation mark on Leinster’s dominance.

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In Toulouse’s defence, and as Sexton identified, they performed 100 minutes towards Munster, returned house and again to Dublin once more so maybe it’s little shock that the petrol mild was flashing at instances. The head coach, Ugo Mola, was magnanimous in defeat however conceded the French home league doesn’t set Toulouse up for European success in the identical means Leinster are.

“If I take the average [number of games this season] from the Irish players and for the French players, it’s maybe double,” he stated. “Honestly, I think this is the best competition, but the Top 14 does not prepare us for this competition.”

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