Tired Leinster crushed by Toulouse

 

Leinster lost their undefeated tag spectacularly to a Toulouse onslaught of six second-half tries in today's Heineken Cup Pool 6 tie.

Leinster had to score three tries to make home advantage certain in the quarter-finals - while Toulouse's only motivation was to show they were as good as their opponents who were many pundits' favourites for the cup.

On the day the corinthian spirit and the pace of the French backs made it no contest.

Leinster did not score their try until the 72nd minute when Victor Costello's pick-up at a five-metre scrum to cross over looked all too easy.

Leinster's strategy in the first half was to kick for territorial position and try to set up scoring opportunities. But that served only to stem the tide of Toulouse's passing movements until just after the interval when New Zealand flanker Finau Maka scored the first try.

Quick ball from a ruck and a burst of speed from Toulouse full-back Clement Poitreneau was enough to give winger Cedric Heymans the first try of his hat-trick.

Toulouse ran at the visitors from all angles.

Leinster's own speed merchant Denis Hickie finally ran down the left wing only to be caught - and inevitably Toulouse counter-attacked wide through many hands for Heymans to take the final pass.

Fly-half Brian O'Driscoll finally got behind the Toulouse defence on a dash from the halfway line after charging down Yann Delaigue's drop goal attempt. The Irish international was only five yards from the try line when he was pulled down by another one of Toulouse's young stars, winger Nicolas Jeanjean.

That brief Leinster attack only spurred on Toulouse, and Michel Marfaing rounded Girvan Dempsey for a great solo try.

Heymans finished his hat-trick of tries from a quickly taken penalty.

After Costello's touchdown, the hosts' replacement winger Emile Ntamack scored an interception try to round off a glorious spectacle for the home crowd.

PA