French Top 14

Toulouse Claims Sixth Investec Champions Cup Title With Win Over Leinster

Toulouse Claims Sixth Investec Champions Cup Title With Win Over Leinster

Stade Toulousain defeated Leinster Rugby 31-22 in the Investec Champions Cup final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

May 25, 2024 by Philip Bendon
Toulouse Claims Sixth Investec Champions Cup Title With Win Over Leinster

Stade Toulousain once again is the king of European (and South African) club rugby after holding off a gallant Leinster team at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Taking an early lead through the boot of Scotland international Blair Kinghorn, Toulouse set out its stall early that they would be pragmatic throughout today’s match.

In what was a nip-and-tuck first half - Toulouse held a narrow 9-6 lead courtesy of three Kinghorn penalties - while Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne knocked over two of his own.

Trading body blow after body blow, the two sides went at it like two great heavyweights in search of that elusive knockout. Both sides had their opportunities but simply could not get over the line.

As full-time expired, there was a 15-all deadlock, as Leinster replacement Ciaran Frawley landed a late penalty to send the match overtime.

Nearly immediately from the kickoff in the overtime period, the match exploded into action, as James Lowe was shown a yellow card for an intentional knock-on. Now, with a man advantage, Toulouse twisted the screw, before exposing Leinster out wide through winger Mathis Lebel, who dove over for the first try of the match.

Moments later, Thomas Ramos added a penalty to the Toulouse total, and suddenly, the French side had a 10-point lead and the first bit of breathing space in the match.

Yet, as with all great sides, Leinster was not going to die wondering and came charging back into the match, as Toulouse secondrow Richie Arnold was shown a red card for a dangerous clear-out on Cian Healy.

Having spent the opening half of extra time a player down, Leinster was one up and in the ascendancy. 

Launching an assault on the Toulouse line, Leinster finally got over for their first try through former World Player Of The Year Josh van der Flier. This try, and subsequent conversion, brought Leinster back within three points at 25-22.

Just as the Leinster minds began dreaming of a repeat of their 2011 final heroics against Northampton, Toulouse brought to life Leinster’s worst nightmare.

Starting the second half of overtime with a penalty, before adding one two minutes later, Ramos ended any hopes of a Leinster comeback to secure a 31-22 win.

As the final whistle blew, the stands erupted into French elation and Irish despair for a third season in a row. While there is no doubting Leinster’s quality, there will be question marks around the team's ability to get over the line when it really matters.

Toulouse, on the other hand, righted the wrongs of the past two years, as they exacted revenge over the side that had comfortably dumped them out of the competition.

For both sides, it will now be a case of returning to domestic action, with both the BKT United Rugby Championship and Top 14 playoffs coming into quick focus.


Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Jamie Osborne, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris (c), 7 Will Connors, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter

Replacements: 16 Rónan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 James Ryan, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Josh van der Flier

Toulouse: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Juan Cruz Mallia, 13 Paul Costes, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matthis Lebel, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (c), 8 Alexandre Roumat, 7 Jack Willis, 6 François Cros, 5 Emmanuel Meafou, 4 Thibaud Flament, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille

Replacements: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Rodrigue Neti, 18 Joel Merkler, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Joshua Brennan, 21 Paul Graou, 22 Santiago Chocobares, 23 Thomas Ramos

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