Search icon


25th May 2024

Talking points from Leinster’s Champions Cup final defeat to Toulouse

Ronan Calvert

Champions Cup talking points

Talking points from the Champions Cup final between Leinster and Toulouse.

Toulouse are Champions Cup winners for 2024 after producing a clinical performance against Leinster in London.

A captivating contest saw Leinster dominate possession and territory throughout, but while Leo Cullen’s men failed to take their numerous chances, Toulouse produced a masterclass in making their moments count.

Toulouse had little respite from Leinster’s relentless attack, but each time did, goal-kicks from Blair Kinghorn and Thomas Ramos kept the scoreboard ticking in their favour.

That was until extra-time, when Toulouse pulled away with a try from Matthis Lebel and more successful kicks from Ramos.

Leinster did score through impressive substitute Josh Van Der Flier but it wouldn’t be enough as Dupont and co showed their undoubted class.

Toulouse’s bright start

There were early nerves for Leinster and they weren’t helped by a blistering start from Toulouse and their star man Antoine Dupont. They were just centimetres away from scoring the game’s first try after just ninety seconds.

A sharp move down the right wing saw Dupont offload the ball back inside for a try-scoring finish, but, after a TMO review, it was found that Dupont’s boot just grazed the white line.

Sheehan’s break and Dupont’s recovery

Dupont was involved in another key moment after Leinster hooker Dan Sheehan intercepted one of his trademark inside-passes.

A tight opening half an hour momentarily looked to have been unlocked but the incredible French scrumhalf recovered to make a remarkable turnover David Pocock would be proud of.

The phantom knock-on

In the lead-up to half-time there was confusion as a James Lowe “try” was called back for a Leinster penalty. RTÉ commentator Donal Lenihan speculated that Leo Cullen’s men had knocked the ball on, but upon watching a replay there was no obvious reason to halt the play.

For whatever reason, referee Matthew Carley refused to play advantage once Toulouse infringed at the breakdown, instead forcing Leinster to kick for three points.

Stopping Leinster’s purple patch.

Leinster started the second half ferociously. It looked as though the Irish province would swing the momentum of the game with a maul try in the 51st minute after James Ryan took good lineout ball inside the Toulouse 22.

Unfortunately for the four-time champions, Toulouse recovered well to disrupt the drive and smother the Blues’ ball. A minute later, James Lowe fumbled the ball in similar territory. You wondered at that point whether their purple patch had passed.

Instead, the same pattern of play repeated itself until the end of normal time.

Larmour Vs Lebel

The game looked to have been all but won in the 69th minute when a Romain Ntamack crossfield kick found Lebel close to the left touchline. He got the better of Lamour initially but the Leinster winger recovered to force him into touch at the very last moment.

It took a TMO decision to relieve Leinster fans’ worries but it was frighteningly close.

Frawley’s dropgoal drifts wide

Substitute Ciaran Frawley showed great bravery to slot back into the pocket in the dying minutes and strike a clean drop-goal towards the posts. Frawley grimaced as the ball crept so slightly wide of the sticks meaning that the game would go to extra-time

Extra-time comes alive

Extra-time was action-packed. First James Lowe was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and soon later Toulouse were scampering towards the first try of the match.

There will be questions over Carley’s decision to sin bin Lowe, however. The RTÉ commentators certainly thought it was harsh.

Leinster replied through Van Der Flier but it wasn’t enough as Toulouse, led by their imperious scrumhalf Dupont, worked their way towards victory with more kicks from Ramos.

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?