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Dublin: 10°C Monday 8 March 2021


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Get on the couch and get the kettle on. What a day of rugby we’ve got in store. 

Ulster will take on Racing 92 in Belfast later this afternoon while Connacht face Sale in the Challenge Cup. 

We’ll serve the best wine first though – arguably – with the mouth-watering clash of these two European aristocrats. 

Here’s a pre-match primer, as we wait for the coverage to start. 

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

Brian O’Driscoll is on BT talking us through weakened Leinster side. Here’s how it looks: 


15. Jordan Larmour
14. Adam Byrne
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Rory O’Loughlin
11. Dave Kearney
10. Ross Byrne 
9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy
2. Sean Cronin 
3. Tadhg Furlong 
4. Scott Fardy 
5. James Ryan
6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan 


16. James Tracy
17. Ed Byrne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Ross Molony
20. Max Deegan 
21. Jamison Gibson-Park 
22. Noel Reid
23. Conor O’Brien.


15. Maxime Médard
14. Cheslin Kolbe
13. Sofiane Guitoune
12. Romain Ntamack
11. Yoann Huget
10. Thomas Ramos
9. Antoine Dupont

1. Clément Castets
2. Julien Marchand (captain)
3. Charlie Faumuina
4. Richie Arnold
5. Joe Tekori
6. Francois Cros
7. Rynhardt Elstadt
8. Jerome Kaino.


16. Peato Mauvaka
17. Cyril Baille
18. Dorian Aldegheri
19. Piula Faasalele
20. Louis Madaule
21. Alban Placines
22. Sébastien Bézy
23. Zack Holmes.

Leo Cullen on the telly: ‘Everyone understands how big a test this will be but we’re hugely excited.  We’re more worried about what we do have, we’ve invested a lot in them and it’s a great test for them today.’

While their former captain is higher up the channels, Gordon Darcy and Jamie Heaslip are on Channel 4 meanwhile. They’re pitchside at the RDS as the Leinster players warm up behind them. 

Darcy says Garry Ringrose is like a French centre of old and would thrive if thrown in to the Toulouse dressingroom. Heaslip, meanwhile, earmarks James Ryan — or ‘JR’ — as one of the keys to a home win today.

From Jim in the comment section: ‘The bookies still giving Leinster a 9 point win seems generous but I do think they have enough to win. 5 point Leinster win.’

How do you see it going? 

And we’re off! 


Pretty intense start to the game and it’s clear the strong breeze will be a big factor in this early-afternoon game. 


Penalty to Leinster for a tackle off the ball and we should have the first points of the day. 


Ross Byrne makes no mistake with his first kick at the posts and the RDS pumps in darts anthem Chase The Sun. 


Toulouse level it up after a couple of big moments.

The visitors punch the air as they’re awarded a penalty in the wake of a collapsed scrum.

It was previously reset as the ref got in the way unintentionally during the first effort. Thomas Ramos knocks over the kick. 


Larmour dances through a couple of red jerseys for the first time and puts the home side on the front foot again. Toulouse defend well — so far — however. 


Leinster are five metres short, 30-odd phases in.. 


What a defensive workshop from Toulouse. Leinster go through 38 phases but come away with nothing to show for their lung-busting effort.


Still level after almost half hour.

In the meantime, Luke McGrath does well to field the ball in front of his own posts. He hands off to Larmour who puts the afterburners on and between him, Dave Kearney and McGrath they work themselves up the middle of the pitch. 

They win an advantage and ultimately kick for touch, where Sean Cronin will put the ball in. 


Leinster are camped two metres from the Toulouse line.

As I type, the hosts are awarded a scrum. 


McGrath squeezes over the line but has he got the ball down!? 


No try! There was no clear grounding but it’s advantage to Leinster. 

The Leinster are fans are unhappy there was no try, yellow card or even penalty try during that dramatic passage of play however. 


Great stuff  from Leinster. Garry Ringrose floats a long looper of a pass out to Adam Byrne on the right flank.

The heavy gang arrive in the shape of Ruddock first and then Conan who powers over. Ross Byrne converts.

Half-time: Leinster 10 Toulouse 6 

Leinster give away a silly penalty in garbage time and the visitors kick for three precious points. It’s the last action of the first period. What did you make of that? 


Here we go again and Leinster have the first scrum of the second half. 


Leinster are eight metres or so from the Toulouse line, after a Ross Byrne kick for touch moments ago. The French side are well pegged back here.  


Toulouse have made a change in one of their key positions with No 10 Thomas Ramos replaced by Aussie outhalf Zach Holmes. 


TRY! Dave Kearney takes an excellent crossfield kick in the corner and manages to dot it down, under pressure. 


Great lineout move from Leinster, which is straight off the training ground, as they say. 

Cronin gives it to Conan short and he tries to give it back to his hooker. Maxime Médard gets in the way however and Toulouse manage to relieve the pressure for now at least.  


Jerome Kaino is replaced by Alban Placines. There’s some confusion as to whether it’s a HIA change or tactical but the referee certainly won’t get a satisfactory answer from the Kiwi. 


Leinster are inches from the line!


It looks like Sean Cronin has got the ball down but we’ve gone upstairs for a look. 


TRY! Leinster 20 Toulouse 6, Sean Cronin 


The try’s concerted and Leinster take a commanding 22-6 lead. 


Leinster have made a few changes with Luke McGrath off injured and Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy calling it a day too. 

Toulouse aren’t throwing in the towel here, in fairness, despite the daylight between the sides on the scoreboard. The hosts are digging in there under pressure. 


Toulouse ‘huffed and puffed’ but they couldn’t find a away through the Leinster defence and the hosts celebrate earning a massive penalty. 


TRY! Leinster 27 Toulouse 6, Adam Byrne!


Noel Reid adds the extras after Leinster’s crucial fourth try of the afternoon. 

It came when the hosts were awarded a penalty and replacement scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park was on the ball enough to realise that the visitors were all over the shop.

He skipped a long pass out to the right flank and Byrne — in acres of space — rushed for the line. This is comprehensive. 

Full time: Leinster 29 Toulouse 13  

Mad finish with Cheslin Kolbe scoring a class-but-meaningless try at the very last and then Brian McClairs the ball from behind the posts to kick the conversion himself. 

It was all about Leinster this afternoon though. 

What did you make of that display? 

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