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
Ulster make changes for Toulouse
The Ulster match-day squad has been named for the Second Leg of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 versus Toulouse at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday evening.
Nick Timoney will make his 100th appearance for the Ulster men, as he is named to start at openside – with Marcus Rea at blindside and Duane Vermeulen at Number Eight. Andrew Warwick comes in to start at loosehead, and will pack down with Rob Herring at hooker and Marty Moore at tighthead. Captain Iain Henderson will partner with Alan O’Connor in the engine room.
Mike Lowry and Rob Baloucoune, who signed new 3-year contract extensions this week, are named at full-back and on the right wing respectively. Ethan McIlroy returns to take the left-wing starting berth. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield partnership, and John Cooney and Billy Burns are retained at scrum-half and out-half.
Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Jordi Murphy will provide forward reinforcements, while Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall and Rob Lyttle will offer back line cover.
Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 Second Leg, Saturday 16 April at Kingspan Stadium, 8pm kick-off, live on BT Sport, beIN Sports, and Sky Italia:
(15-9) Mike Lowry, Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jordi Murphy, Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle.
Graham Rowntree Confirmed As Next Munster Head Coach
Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm that Graham Rowntree will be promoted from Forwards Coach to the role of Head Coach from July 1, 2022.
Rowntree will commence the role of Head Coach at the start of the 2022/23 season after signing a two-year deal.
The former England prop made the move to Limerick in October 2019 on completion of his Rugby World Cup coaching duties with Georgia Rugby.
In his third season as Forwards Coach Graham and family have settled well into Limerick life, noting earlier this year, “I have made my thoughts about this club widely known throughout my time so far, and for me and my family it really has been an easy decision, a non-decision if truth be told.
“We’ve put down roots here and have no desire to move anywhere else.”
With an impressive coaching CV and vast experience, Rowntree previously held coaching roles with the British and Irish Lions, England Rugby, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.
Working closely with the IRFU, the province will advance with next steps in securing the backroom team that will work with Graham from next season as Head Coach Johann van Graan, Senior Coach Stephen Larkham, and Defence Coach JP Ferreira depart the province at the end of June.
IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora, commented, “I would like to thank the Munster Professional Game Committee for their work and diligence during this process.
“It is important that Munster have someone who understands the unique history and culture of the club and has the experience to maximise the talent in the squad.
“Graham was very impressive throughout this process and demonstrated he has the capabilities to spearhead the next chapter of Munster Rugby.”
On confirmation of the promotion, Graham Rowntree added, “I am hugely honoured to be taking over the role of Head Coach for a club of this calibre, one that means so much to me and my family.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed every moment here and I fortunately get to work with an incredible group of staff and players who share a common goal each day in striving for success for this club.
“I’ve talked about our fantastic supporters before and again at the weekend we stepped off the bus to a huge red welcome in Exeter. Who doesn’t want to be part of that, that’s special!
“I believe we have the established structures in place with the resources and facilities to match and that it will be a smooth transition for the coaching ticket we assemble in ensuring continued development and success for this club.
“Before then I have a role to complete this season and working closely with Johann, Steve, and JP is the immediate focus and priority for now.”
Commenting on the appointment, Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan said, “Graham’s extensive coaching experience and knowledge for the game makes him the perfect candidate to lead this squad forward.
“With Graham stepping up at the start of the new season it will be a seamless and natural progression from the work that has been carried out to-date.
“For now, we will continue our focus on the remainder of this season with Graham supporting Johann and the coaching staff in achieving our goals.”
Munster Rugby Home Fixtures
Saturday, April 16
Champions Cup Round of 16: Munster v Exeter Chiefs, Thomond Park, 3pm; Buy tickets here
Friday, April 29
URC: Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
Images & Content from Munster Rugby
Ulster name team for Toulouse
The Ulster match-day squad has been selected for the first leg of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 versus Toulouse at Le Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Ben Moxham will make his first European start for Ulster as he is named on the left wing alongside Mike Lowry at full-back and Robert Baloucoune on the right wing. Stuart McCloskey comes in to start and will partner with James Hume in the centre. Billy Burns and John Cooney return to form the half-back pairing.
The front row sees Eric O’Sullivan and Rob Herring named at loosehead and hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his place at tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor returns to pair up with captain Iain Henderson in the second row. Marcus Rea comes in at blindside flanker, with Nick Timoney and Duane Vermeulen retained at openside and Number Eight respectively.
Brad Roberts, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Jordi Murphy provide the forward reinforcements on the bench. Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall and Rob Lyttle will offer the back line options.
Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 First Leg, Saturday 9 April at Le Stadium, 3.15pm kick-off (UK / IRE time), live on BT Sport, beIN Sports, FR2:
(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ben Moxham, Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Brad Roberts, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jordi Murphy, Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle.