Leinster will face Saracens in this season’s Champions Cup final after seeing off Toulouse 30-12 in the semi-final at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
The reigning champions get the chance to defend their title ?— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 21, 2019
A clinical display from @leinsterrugby to power past @StadeToulousain puts them in the #Heineken #ChampionsCup Final at St James' Park ??
Moment of the match? pic.twitter.com/FqvaHx1xVF
The win means that Leinster will have the chance to win back-to-back titles and remain in the running to also defend their Pro 14 crown.
The away side got off to the perfect start when Thomas Ramos slotted over a fifth minute penalty to put them 3-0 up.
Five minutes on and Leinster were level thanks to a Johnny Sexton penalty.
From the resulting kick-off Ramos kicked the ball past the end zone and out for a Leinster scrum on half-way. Leinster had nine phases before sending the ball through the hands and over to James Lowe who battled through two tacklers to touch-down in the corner.
Sexton converted from the angle and suddenly Leinster were 10-3 ahead.
Leinster never looked back from there and when Richie Gray was sin-binned for an intentional knock-on in his own 22 they capitalised.
Sexton went to the corner and after securing the line-out the boys in blue marched towards the line, with Luke McGrath diving over the white-wash. Sexton sent over the extras with another impressive kick and it was 17-3 with 25 minutes played.
Robbie Henshaw was sent to the bin on the half-hour mark for a deliberate knock-on of his own. From that penalty Ramos got the visitors back in the game kicking the three points.
Leinster thought they had scored another try with the clock in red as James Lowe raced over to touch down only for the TMO to penalise Jack Conan for obstruction in the build-up and reverse the decision meaning it was 17-6 at the whistle.
The reigning champions have the advantage at the break ?— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 21, 2019
Tries from Lowe and Luke McGrath give @leinsterrugby the edge, with Ramos slotting 6 points to put @StadeToulousain on the board ??
Which way will this one go? #Heineken #ChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/oW86N8i74U
Toulouse started the second-half as they did the first with Ramos knocking over an early penalty to make it 17-9.
That meant little minutes later when great work from Jordan Larmour and Cian Healy allowed Scott Fardy to stretch and score another try. Sexton was perfect with his kick once more to leave the score at 24-9.
Maxime Medard came on and thought he had got the visitors back into the game with a chip and chase only for replays to show that Garry Ringrose got to the ball first. Fellow substitute Romain Ntamack kicked a penalty from the previous play to make it 24-12.
That kick was equalled by man-of-the-match Sexton’s penalty on 65 minutes before he left the pitch to be replaced by Ross Byrne.
Byrne had the final say of the game when he knocked over a penalty with three minutes left meaning the home side finished as 30-12 victors.
Leinster will now look to bring that form into the Pro 14 semi-final before heading to St. James Park in Newcastle on May 11th to attempt to win a record fifth European crown against Saracens. Toulouse on the other hand will hope to continue their march toward the Top 14 title after a disappointing day at the office.
Leinster = Rob Kearney (7), Jordan Larmour (7), Garry Ringrose (8), Robbie Henshaw (6), James Lowe (8), Johnny Sexton (9), Luke McGrath (8); Cian Healy (7), Sean O’Brien (7), Tadhg Furlong (7), Devin Toner (7), James Ryan (8), Scott Fardy (8), Sean O’Brien (7), Jack Conan (7)
Toulouse = Thomas Ramos (7), Yoann Huget (5), Sofiane Guitoune (6), Pita Ahki (5), Cheslin Kolbe (6), Antoine Dupont (6), Sebastien Bezy (5); Clement Castets (5), Peato Mauvaka (5), Charlie Faumunia (6), Richie Arnold (5), Richie Gray (5), Rynhard Elstadt (6), Joe Tekori (5), Jerome Kaino (6)
Match Highlights:Embed from Getty Images
Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Bayonne At Thomond
The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup opener against Bayonne at Thomond Park (5.30pm).
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Jean Kleyn will be unavailable until the New Year due to an eye injury suffered in the Leinster match. He attended for a specialist review last Tuesday and Wednesday and will have further follow-up before Christmas.
Jack Daly (ankle) and Liam Coombes (shoulder) both underwent surgery last week and will begin rehabilitation under the medical department.
There is good news for Patrick Campbell (ankle) as he has returned to team training.
Jack O’Donoghue (ankle) will also return to training this week.
Simon Zebo (knee) will continue to rehabilitate early this week.
The availability of Campbell, O’Donoghue and Zebo will be determined later in the week.
Peter O’Mahony (shoulder) is improving but will remain unavailable for the Bayonne clash.
Continuing to rehab: Jack Daly (ankle), Peter O’Mahony (shoulder), Liam Coombes (shoulder), RG Snyman (chest/shoulder), Joey Carbery (wrist), Roman Salanoa (knee), Mike Haley (hip), Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles), Niall Scannell (groin).
There were 11 Munster players in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.
In Division 1A, Fionn Gibbons, Chris Moore and Keynan Knox helped Young Munster to a win over City of Armagh with Gibbons among the tries.
Ethan Coughlan and Daniel Okeke were in action for Shannon as they were beaten away to Terenure College.
In Division 1B, Jack Oliver, George Hadden and Colm Hogan helped Garryowen beat Blackrock College with Hogan scoring a try on his debut for the club. Oliver also kicked three conversions and two penalties.
Jack O’Sullivan and Ben O’Connor featured for UCC as they were narrowly beaten by Old Wesley.
In Evan O’Connell helped UL Bohemians to a draw against MU Barnhall.
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A World First For Munster Rugby And Crusaders
Munster Rugby and the Crusaders are set to create history in 2024 with a world-first ‘Clash of Champions’ game on Saturday, February 3 (5pm).
The New Zealand franchise secured their seventh successive Super Rugby Pacific championship on Saturday in Waikato defeating Chiefs 25-20 to retain their title. They are the most successful team in the competition’s history having won 14 trophies and are world renowned for their history and record of success and excellence.
Following Munster’s recent URC success in Cape Town, it will be the first time ever the reigning champions of the URC and Super Rugby face off against each other.
Former Munster Head Coach Rob Penney has already been confirmed as the new Crusaders Head Coach from 2024 and their pre-season campaign will see them embark on their first-ever international tour for fixtures against Munster and Bristol Bears.
Munster Rugby CEO, Ian Flanagan said: “We are delighted to welcome the Super Rugby champions to Munster, hosting a groundbreaking fixture against the Crusaders.
“We hold a proud and rich history of playing touring sides and I’ve no doubt next February’s game will be a special occasion for all involved.”
Colin Mansbridge, Crusaders CEO, said: “The Crusaders are thrilled to be coming over to Ireland and the UK to face some stiff competition away from home.
“NZ and Australian clubs have been working on the World Club Competition for years, so when an opportunity for Super teams to play Northern Hemisphere counterparts came up, it was just too good to pass up.
“Munster have a history of giving touring sides a pretty hard time, so they present particularly tough competition. There’s also the added connection with our new Head Coach Rob Penney who coached there,” Mansbridge said.
The venue within Munster, and ticket details, will be confirmed in due course. MRSC members will be contacted directly regarding a pre-sale.
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2024 Crusaders Ireland and UK Fixtures
Saturday, February 3, 2024
Munster Rugby v Crusaders, Venue TBC, 5pm;
Friday February 9, 2024
Bristol Bears v Crusaders, Ashton Gate, 7.30pm;
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Leinster drawn in Pool 4 in the 2023/24 Champions Cup
The draw for the pool stages of the 2023/24 Champions Cup took place earlier this afternoon in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Leinster Rugby have been drawn in Pool 4, alongside La Rochelle, Stade Francais, Leicester Tigers, DHL Stormers and Sale Sharks.
Leo Cullen’s team will face La Rochelle, Stade Francais, Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks in the four pool matches, with two matches at home, and two matches away.
The top-four teams from each pool will advance to the Round of 16, with the fifth-placed teams moving into the EPCR Challange Cup.
All fixture details will be confirmed in due course.
Round 1 – 8/9/10 December 2023
Round 2 – 15/16/17 December 2023
Round 3 – 12/13/14 January 2024
Round 4 – 19/20/21 January 2024
Round of 16 – 5/6/7 April 2024
Quarter-Finals – 12/13/14 April 2024
Semi-Finals – 3/4/5 May 2024
EPCR Challenge Cup Final – Friday 24 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Champions Cup Final – Saturday 25 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
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