This time there was no miracle. The Clover has taken its revenge. Gravediggers of two Irish provinces, Ulster and Munster in the eighth and quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, Toulouse were smothered by a third: Leinster. Dominated physically and tactically, the teammates of Antoine Dupont, defending champions, lost (40-17), Saturday May 14, at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
“It has been the best team in Europe for a very long time in its way of thinking about rugby. A reference in its ability to master its subject on everything that does not require talent”, had warned the Toulouse coach, Ugo Mola, during the week. “We took a lesson in pragmatism and strategy, we got stuck in our camp from the start and we couldn’t get our heads out of the water”, reacted hot his captain, Antoine Dupont, after the meeting. It is difficult to better summarize this one-sided meeting between the two most successful teams on the European scene.
From the first contacts, the Toulouse defensive curtain withered on all sides. The tacklers fell back on every impact, giving Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton plenty of freedom to choose which support to serve to keep going. Number 10, a true conductor, also offered two tries to his winger James Lowe on an inside return and a millimeter jump pass (15th, 11-7, 50th, 28-10). In total, the Irish planted four tries.
Conversely, like a Cyril Baille or an Anthony Jelonch several times stopped short by the defense of Leinster, the Toulouse had difficulty advancing. Under pressure in attack, they multiplied the faults of hand and the bad choices. Ugo Mola’s men lost 18 balls against 11 for Leinster. The yellow card conceded (37th) by the second line Emmanuel Meafou, after three consecutive faults in the ground game, is symptomatic of a start to the match where the Hauts-Garonnais sinned by their indiscipline (seven penalties to three at the break ). Even the test – yet another stroke of genius – signed Antoine Dupont was not enough (7th, 3-7).
Leinster gleaned a third consecutive success against Toulouse in the Champions Cup. The Irish province, which had not reached the final of the competition since 2019 and its defeat against Saracens, will face in Marseille, on May 28, the winner of the duel between La Rochelle and Racing 92 (Sunday, at 4 p.m., live on France 2). He will have the opportunity to win a fifth European star. A coronation that would allow him to return to Stade Toulouse.