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Leinster knock out Toulouse en route to final four

Tuesday 31st January 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 31/01/2006 16:33

- 31/01/2006 16:33

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Leinster knock out Toulouse en route to final four

Tuesday 31st January 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 31/01/2006 16:33

- 31/01/2006 16:33

Leinster recorded an historic victory over Toulouse to send them through to the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup.

The visiting Irish side ran in four tries, and, with the irresistible kicking of man-of-the-match Filipe Contepomi, they built a 20 point lead going into the final quarter that proved enough to dump the defending champions out of the competition.

Toulouse started brightly but they were unable to breach the Leinster line, settling instead for the points from the boot of goal kicking-srcum half Jean-Baptise Ellissalde.

But Leinster have a points scoring machine of their own in Contepomi, and early evidence he had his shooting boots on came in the 9th, 16hth and 20th minutes when he scored penalty goals to put Leinster noses in front.

They went further ahead when Shane Horgan and Contempomi combined to unlock the Toulouse defence and set up the opening try of the match.

Horgan showed his strength to break Michalak’s tackle and a fine offload to Contepomi set the Argentina fly-half on a powerful run toward the 22.

Brian O’Driscoll was on hand to receive the Contempomi’s crucial pass, he ghosted past the bemused Vincent Clerc and with one arm raised he dived under the posts. Contepomi added the extras.

Leinster’s fans were jubilant, but were quietened slightly five minutes later when referee David Pearson blew for a penalty just fifteen minutes from the line, after Brian Blaney failed to roll away from the tackle area. Ellissalde clawed back three points.

It was a flowing and open match at this stage, but discipline at this level is so often the deciding factor. And referee Pearson penalised Toulouse time and again at the ruck.

So when Contepomi slotted over his fourth successful penalty kick after 39 minutes, Leinster had a 10-point lead which they held on to as a rattled Toulouse spluttered through the final moments of the first period.

Toulouse came storming out the second-half blocks, and their pressure was converted into points just three minutes in with Ellissalde’s fourth penalty.

They cut the lead to a solitary point when Ellissalde scored his fifth penalty after 48 mintutes and Michalak added a fine drop goal on 51minutes.

But Michalak went from hero to villain moment later as -while under pressure from Keith Gleeson – he threw a panickey pass on his own 22m line went straight into the arms of Cameron Jowitt who had the legs to make it over. Contepomi’s cool conversion put Leinster eight points to the good.

But as if that wasn’t enough, Denis Hickie scored a sensational length of the field try to give the visiting fans real hope of victory. With a burst of speed he shot past the pedestrian Pelous, and exchanged passes with Gordon D’Arcy before diving over in the corner.

Those same fans were sent into raptures when Shane Horgan scored a try of his own minutes later, and when Contepomi added the extras, and a penalty the visitors hade built a unassailable 20 point lead.

Toulouse made a fist of it when Nyanga crossed with 10 minutes remaining, and a last-gasp score from Jauzion narrowed the gap further

But it was too little, too late, and Toulouse – three times champions of Europe – are out.

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