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Match preview: Leinster v Toulouse

Thursday 28th April 2011

12:00 am (GMT)

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In a repeat of last season's semi-final clash

In a repeat of last season's semi-final clash

In a repeat of last season’s semi-final clash, Leinster and Toulouse once again lock horns in the last four but on this occasion the Irish side have home advantage.

Following their 26 v 16 victory in the South of France Toulouse went onto lift their fourth Heineken Cup title, beating compatriots Biarritz in the final last season.

The reigning Champions lost just one match on the way to winning Pool 6 and then beat last season’s finalists Biarritz 27 v 20 in an epic quarter-final match in San Sebastien after extra time.

Toulouse currently lead the Top 14 Championship in France and are aiming to reach their sixth European Cup final.

Leinster overwhelmed former Heineken Cup Champions Leicester Tigers in the quarter-final to book their place in the last four and they will be looking for a third success at the Aviva Stadium this season.

The Irish province beat Clermont Auvergne 24 v 8 in their first European game in the new stadium back in December and that was followed up by their 19 v 10 victory over Leicester at the start of April.

Over 50,000 supporters will watch two of Europe’s greatest sides battle it out for a place in the final in Cardiff on May 21.

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Leinster reach second final with thrilling win.

Saturday 30th April 2011

12:00 am (GMT)

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Une performance palpitante des joueurs de Leinster leur permet d'aller en finale de la H Cup à Cardiff aux dépens des tenants du titre de Toulouse. - 30/04/2011 17:19

Une performance palpitante des joueurs de Leinster leur permet d'aller en finale de la H Cup à Cardiff aux dépens des tenants du titre de Toulouse. - 30/04/2011 17:19

A stunning performance from Leinster secured them a Heineken Cup Final spot in Cardiff at the expense of reigning champions Toulouse.

Over 50,000 people packed into the Aviva Stadium to witness a cracking semi-final between two of Europe’s biggest sides.

In an adrenaline filled opening it took a while for both sides to find their feet, but Toulouse took an early lead through centre Florian Fritz.

David Skrela’s opening kick hit the left hand post and as Leinster waited for the ball to drop into their hands, the French centre rose above the waiting players, collected the ball and touched down in silence the home crowd. Skrela had no problem with his second shot at goal and Toulouse had an early 7-0 lead.

It was Gordon D’Arcy’s powering break which sparked life into the game, the Ireland International burst through two tackles and, as Leinster attacked with pace and after Toulouse were penalised for not rolling away, Jonathan Sexton opened Leinster’s account with a simple penalty.

Skrela replied almost immediately with a drop-goal to restore his side’s advantage before a second Sexton penalty.

It wasn’t until the 30th minute that Leinster finally crossed for the try they deserved, Jamie Heaslip sneaking his way through a close-range ruck to place the ball on the line.

The visitors’ best period came right at the end of the first half in an attack started by Jean-Marc Doussain. The reigning European Champions threw everything at Leinster but could not find a way through the tight defence. Brian O’Driscoll was then sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul at a ruck and Skrela kicked the resulting penalty to level the scores.

Sexton had the last word of the half however, kicking Leinster into the lead with another penalty just before the break.

It was all Toulouse in the opening second-half exchanges and a stunning eight man shove from the visitors resulted in the simplest of scores for Louis Picamoles and Skrela added the extras.

The early period of the second forty minutes had everything, quick ball, pace out wide, power up-front – a true advert for European rugby.

Two penalties in quick succession from the ever cool Sexton changed the completion of the change, a position from which Leinster built upon with growing confidence.

With the lead back they looked more and more assured and, after sustained pressure, O’Driscoll glided over for the crucial score. With two more points from Sexton, Leinster built themselves a nine-point lead.

In a frantic ending to the game, substitute Nicolas Bezy kicked a hugely important penalty, to bring the scores to within a converted try.

As expected the French side used all of their European experience and passion to try their best to break through at the death, but Leinster hung on and Sexton kicked a final penalty with the last play of the game as Leinster claimed a famous victory.

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