Leinster go top after thumping Toulouse

Date published: January 12 2019

Leinster won the battle of the European heavyweights courtesy of a 29-13 Champions Cup victory over Toulouse at the RDS Arena on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, the champions were full value for their win and outscored their opponents by four tries to one with Jack Conan, Dave Kearney, Sean Cronin and Adam Byrne crossing the whitewash. Ross Byrne slotted two conversions and a penalty and Noel Reid also added a conversion.

Toulouse’s points came via a try and a conversion from Cheslin Kolbe and two penalties from Thomas Ramos.

The result means Leinster move above their French rivals to the top of Pool One with 20 points after five matches.

With this being a showdown between the tournament’s two most successful sides, and with Toulouse leading Leinster by two points in the pool before the match, there was plenty at stake.

There was also lots of hype in the build-up to this encounter and that was certainly justified as both sides went at each other hammer and tongs for the entire match.

But Leinster won most of the collisions in an attritional affair while Toulouse committed too many unforced errors and conceded several turnovers which proved costly in the end.

Although Leinster’s victory was largely down to an excellent all-round effort, Ross Byrne deserves plenty of credit for his role in this triumph as he shone as his side’s chief playmaker. Byrne’s game management was impressive and he provided the highlight of the match early in the second half when he delivered a pinpoint crossfield kick which Kearney gathered spectacularly before diving over for a deserved try.

Toulouse battled to build momentum and game breakers like Ramos, Kolbe, Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack had little impact on this match as they were stopped in their tracks by a solid defensive effort from the Leinstermen.

In Saturday’s other early game, Montpellier made a statement of intent as they thrashed Newcastle Falcons 45-8 in their Pool Five clash at the GGL Stadium.

Henry Immelman led the way with a brace of tries for Montpellier and their other tries were scored by Timoci Nagusa, Yvan Reilhac, Paul Willemse, Nico Janse van Rensburg and Romain Ruffenach.

Zach Kibirige scored Newcastle’s only try and Toby Flood succeeded with a penalty.