Match Report – Leinster 22 – 31 Toulouse

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Full-back Blair Kinghorn kicked four penalties, wing Matthis Lebel scored a vital try and replacement Thomas Ramos kicked a further four penalties as Toulouse beat Leinster after extra-time in an epic Champions Cup final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium despite Richie Arnold’s red card

Last Updated: 25/05/24 6:21pm

Toulouse Are The European Champions For A Sixth Time After A Stunning Victory Over Leinster

Toulouse are the European champions for a sixth time after a stunning victory over Leinster

Toulouse clinched a record-extending sixth Champions Cup crown as they beat Leinster 31-22 after extra-time in an epic final in Tottenham.

The French side were never behind in the final but had two potential tries ruled out by a matter of inches in either half, and were pegged back by Leinster in an 80 minutes dominated by penalties.

Locked at 15-15 at the end of full-time, the Champions Cup final headed to extra-time for only the third time in its history and like on each of the prior occasions, Toulouse lifted the trophy.

Leinster wing James Lowe was sin-binned early in extra-time for a deliberate knock-on, and when Toulouse wing Matthis Lebel scored a stunning solo try, and Thomas Ramos kicked them into a 10-point lead with another penalty, the final finally appeared won.

That was until Toulouse lock Richie Arnold was shown a red card for a high tackle on Cian Healy, and a controversial Josh van der Flier try left Leinster three points behind with the entire 10 minutes of the second half of extra-time to play.

The 14 players of Toulouse proceed to carve out two further penalties in that period, however, which Ramos dispatched to cue French delirium in north London.

Toulouse thought they had a try less than two minutes in, as a lightning attack eventually saw Antoine Dupont offload inside for wing Juan Cruz Mallia to finish. The score was ruled out after a TMO review, however, which showed Dupont’s foot had just scraped the touchline before he got the ball away.

Toulouse Thought They Had A Try Less Than Two Minutes In Through Juan Cruz Mallia (No 14), But It Was Ruled Out For An Antoine Dupont Foot In Touch

Toulouse thought they had a try less than two minutes in through Juan Cruz Mallia (No 14), but it was ruled out for an Antoine Dupont foot in touch

The French side kept up their dominant start, though, and moved ahead in the fourth minute when Kinghorn struck a penalty over superbly from halfway.

Four minutes later, Kinghorn repeated the trick off the tee – again from distance – as Toulouse moved 6-0 in front with Leinster having barely touched the ball.

Blair Kinghorn Kicked Two Long-Range Penalties As Toulouse Moved Into An Early 6-0 Lead

Blair Kinghorn kicked two long-range penalties as Toulouse moved into an early 6-0 lead

Toulouse centre Pita Ahki let the restart to that second penalty bounce, however, and then signalled a spell of Leinster attack during which they kicked to the corner twice in search of tries, but were stopped by strong Toulouse defence.

In the 19th minute, Byrne got Leinster onto the scoreboard as the Irish province chose to kick for points after a Toulouse breakdown penalty.

An inch-perfect 50:22 from Dupont set Toulouse attacking in the Leinster 22 as the half drew to a close, and once Joe McCarthy knocked on an intercept attempt and Leinster loosehead Andrew Porter was penalised at the scrum, Kinghorn kicked the French side 9-3 ahead with little time remaining.

Yet, with the clock in the red, Dupont chose not to kick out and end the half near halfway, and was ruthlessly punished as Leinster won a breakdown penalty, kicked to touch, and carved out a penalty to narrow the gap to three points via Byrne.

Ross Byrne Got Leinster Onto The Scoreboard, After A Number Of Botched Chances

Ross Byrne got Leinster onto the scoreboard, after a number of botched chances

Seven minutes into the second half, Leinster were then level as Byrne struck through after a Toulouse offside.

End-to-end stuff saw sensational defence from both sides when under pressure, and just prior to the hour mark, Kinghorn kicked Toulouse back into the lead as Leinster were caught offside.

A very harsh forward pass call against Toulouse fly-half Romain Ntamack in his own half handed Leinster a route into the 22 before long, and when the French side failed to roll away, Byrne levelled the final again at 12-12 from close range with 14 minutes to play.

With 11 minutes to go, Lebel looked to have flown in for a telling try in the corner after latching onto a brilliant Ntamack kick-pass, but TMO replays showed Leinster wing Jordan Larmour had done phenomenally well to just get his opposite wing’s trailing leg into touch before a grounding.

A Phenomenal Last-Ditch Jordan Larmour Tackle Denied Matthis Lebel A Try With 11 Minutes To Play

A phenomenal last-ditch Jordan Larmour tackle denied Matthis Lebel a try with 11 minutes to play

With nine minutes to play, a stunning Ramos strike on the angle after a maul penalty put Toulouse within touching distance, but a costly scrum penalty saw replacement Ciarán Frawley level matters with two minutes to play.

A highly dramatic period of extra-time in Tottenham

A Frawley drop-goal landed wide just before the end of normal time, but less than two minutes into extra-time, Lowe was shown yellow for sticking a hand out to block a Dupont offload.

Ramos missed the penalty attempt, but seconds later Toulouse took full advantage of the space out wide as Lebel seared in down the left.

Lebel Raced In For The Opening Try Of The Final Three Minutes Into Extra-Time

Lebel raced in for the opening try of the final three minutes into extra-time

Ramos converted and added a penalty with a minute to go before half-time in extra-time for a seemingly unassailable lead.

Indeed, Toulouse were then awarded another kickable penalty, but before it could be taken, TMO replays showed Arnold catch Healy in the head, for which he was sent from the field of play.

Richie Arnold Was Red Carded In Extra-Time For A High Tackle, Which Could Have Proven So Costly

Richie Arnold was red carded in extra-time for a high tackle, which could have proven so costly

In the final play of the extra-time half, with Lowe back onto the pitch, Van der Flier dived for the line, but did not celebrate as Toulouse hooker Julien Marchand appeared to hold the ball up. Despite the on-field decision going up as ‘No try’, the score was eventually awarded after a lengthy period of replays in which referee Matt Carley decided he could see the ball grounded.

Leinster Were Awarded A Highly Controversial Josh Van Der Flier Try In The Final Play Of The First Half Of Extra-Time

Leinster were awarded a highly controversial Josh van der Flier try in the final play of the first half of extra-time

Favourites from that position, Leinster failed to properly fire a shot in the second period of extra-time, as Toulouse rolled their sleeves up to force penalties which sealed a dramatic victory.

Thomas Ramos Emerged Off The Bench To Kick Magnificently Under Enormous Pressure

Thomas Ramos emerged off the bench to kick magnificently under enormous pressure

1716658068 66 Match Report Leinster 22 31 Toulouse