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For one brief moment, every Leinster fan thought they were going to the European Cup final

Leinster were a couple of feet away from their fourth European Cup final.

IN THE BUILD-UP to today’s Champions Cup semi-final, many were saying that Leinster’s best chance of victory would be to take Toulon on with the ball in hand.

Jimmy Gopperth misses a drop goal attempt Jimmy Gopperth watches on as his late drop goal attempt sail towards the posts. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

They actually did the opposite – and it very nearly worked.

Leinster dominated the lineout and the scrum for long periods and as the game entered the final stages, they were driving for the winning score. It fell to Jimmy Gopperth to try and nail the drop goal, but his effort drifted just wide.

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The Leinster fans behind the goal began to celebrate wildly as the kick sailed towards the posts but Wayne Barnes emphatically waved it wide.

Leinster didn’t play much rugby over the course of their 100 minute 25-20 defeat but their pack fought tigerishly and they were a kick away from making their fourth European Cup final.

The decisive moment came after Ali Williams was sin-binned for Toulon. First, Leigh Halfpenny put the French side 18-15 ahead with a penalty and then Bryan Habana showed great instincts to jump in front of Ian Madigan’s mis-pass and race home.

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Here is how we rated Leinster in their devastating extra time loss to Toulon

Leinster come close and more talking points after Toulon progress to final

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