Toulouse

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Leinster’s James Lowe celebrates a try against Saracens during the  Champions Cup quarter-final at the  Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Toulouse are coming to Dublin. Munster face Saracens in Coventry. The best four European teams, with 12 titles between them. All looking like potentia(...)

Ugo Mola, joint head coach of Toulouse, congratulates Yoann Huget and his fellow players after the victory over Leinster at Stade Ernest-Wallon in Toulouse. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

They’d only missed out on qualification for the first time last season, but somehow their absence has felt longer and, it seemed that way for the once(...)

Toulouse’s Maxime Médard celebrates as  his side win a late peanlty to effectively end the game against Leinster at Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

A week is a long time, and all that. Things were always going to get tougher in round two, but even so yesterday’s third Irish defeat of the weekend (...)

 Felipe Contepomi, (centre) celebrates with  Denis Hickie (left) and Will Green after Leinster’s  victory over Toulouse in the  Heineken Cup quarter-final at  Stade Municipal  in Toulouse in April 2006. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Heineken Cup quarter-final, Toulouse 35-41 Leinster, Municipal Stadium, Toulouse – April 2006 Denis Hickie versus Vincent Clerc, the ultimate sprinte(...)

Guy Easterby: “We want our players to play for Ireland. That is the absolute key to what we do and Leo [Cullen] has been an incredible driver of that.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

If the history of Leinster, volume three, represents the current reawakening, volume two has to be the moment they embraced actual professionalism. L(...)

Bath’s Freddie Burns runs behind the posts but fails to ground the ball to score during the European Champions Cup game against Toulouse. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Showboating, I know something of this idiotic art-form. Truth be told, such antics very nearly wrote my sporting epitaph. The Freddie Burns gift for (...)

Paddy Jackson in action for Perpignan during the pre-season friendly against Toulouse. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Paddy Jackson said people might not be able to understand what he has been through unless they experienced something similar but he is determined to (...)

Pool 1 after the draw for next year’s Heineken Cup in  Lausanne, Switzerland. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

So much for the elevated status of Leinster as this year’s European champions and one of the protected top seeds for next season’s Heineken Cup. Coa(...)

Munster celebrate as CJ Stander scores a try against Toulouse in Saturday’s European  Champions Cup quarter-final at Thomond Park, Limerick.  Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

The cream riseth to the top, and all that. In time-honoured fashion, it gets harder now, and the Irish provinces will both be underdogs when Munster h(...)

Leinster’s captain’s run at the  Aviva Stadium ahead of their quarter-final clash with Wasps. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Make-or-break weekend in the European Champions Cup, and it’s good to be back. Last season marked the first time since the 1997-98 campaign when no Ir(...)

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