Leinster dismiss Toulouse to book play-off spot
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Defending champions Leinster put down a big marker with a bonus-point 29-13 win over Toulouse on Saturday.
The final margin somewhat flatters the French visitors, with a spectacular Cheslin Kolbe try and conversion on the final hooter giving their score some respectability.
The home side leapfrogged Toulouse to take the top spot in Pool One, with one round to play.
A win over Wasps next week would clinch a home quarterfinal.
The home team started on top, with a Sean Cronin tackle resulting in Leinster attacking the Toulouse line until play was broken up but advantage was being played. Ross Byrne slotted between the posts for the opening score.
Leinster then had the put-in at the scrum inside their own 22 but the Toulouse pack forced the home side to collapse and that gave Thomas Ramos the simple task of levelling the scores.
The first try came soon after as Leinster spread the play wide right and then back inside to Jack Conan who powered past two Toulouse men and over the try line. Byrne’s conversion split the posts to give the home side a seven-point cushion, but Ramos narrowed the gap with a late successful penalty kick.
Shortly after the interval, Ramos failed to fully clear away and that gave Leinster the chance to continue the attack and punish the French side.
Byrne played a delightful cross-field kick to perfection, allowing Dave Kearney to attack the ball and stay in play while dotting down for the second try.
Pressure continued to pile on Toulouse and they eventually gave way as Leinster went over for the third time through Sean Cronin.
The bonus point was then brought up as replacement Jamison Gibson-Park fired a ball wide to Adam Byrne who scored in the corner with ease.
A spectacular Cheslin Kolbe try and conversion rounded off a tremendous clash but it was nothing more than a consolation for Toulouse who was well-beaten in Dublin.
Tries: Conan, Kearney, Cronin, A Byrne
Cons: R Byrne 2, Reid
Pens R Byrne
Pens: Ramos 2
Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Rory O’Loughlin, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 5 James Ryan, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Conor O’Brien.
Toulouse: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Romain Ntamack, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Thomas Ramos, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Julien Marchand (captain), 1 Clément Castets.
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Piula Faasalele, 20 Louis-Benoit Madaule, 21 Alban Placines, 22 Sébastien Bézy, 23 Zack Holmes.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Tom Foley (England), Jonathan Healy (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)