Leinster 32-23 Toulouse

Leinster vs Toulouse

Leinster (16) 32Tries: Heaslip, O’DriscollCons: Sexton 2Pens: Sexton 6
Toulouse (13) 23Tries: Fritz, PicamolesCons: Skrela 2Pens: Skrela, BezyDrop goal: Skrela
Leinster clinched their place in the Heineken Cup final with a hard-fought win over Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium.

The Irish province led 16-13 at half-time thanks to a Jamie Heaslip try and 11 points from Jonathan Sexton.

Florian Fritz scored a try for Toulouse, with David Skrela kicking eight points during the first period.

After the break Brian O’Driscoll scored a try and Sexton kicked a further 11 points while Louis Picamoles crossed the line for the four-time champions.

Skrela knocked over a conversion and Nicolas Bezy kicked a penalty.

The match turned out to be a bruising encounter as Leinster avenged last May’s semi-final loss to the same opposition.

Joe Schmidt’s side twice came from behind to show their class in an absorbing second half, using their physicality up front to knock Toulouse off their stride and progress to their second Heineken Cup final in three years.

Toulouse raced into an early lead when Fritz touched down under the posts in the fifth minute.

A Skrela penalty rebounded off the left hand upright and Fritz reacted quickly to score the try after the ball took a wicked bounce over the head of O’Driscoll. Skrela added the conversion.

Sexton reduced the Irish province’s deficit with a 10th-minute penalty but a wonderfully executed Skrela drop goal two minutes later restored Leinster’s advantage.

Man-of-the-match Heaslip scored his ninth Heineken Cup try after half an hour when he completed a fine move which included 17 phases, his outstretched arm reaching the line amid a pile of bodies.

The number eight bulldozed his way through the Toulouse defence and touched the ball down, Sexton converting.

Confirmation of the try came from television match official Graham Hughes.

O’Driscoll was yellow-carded for coming in on the wrong side a few metres out in the 36th minute and fly-half Skrela knocked over the resulting penalty to level the scores.

An injury-time penalty by Sexton, awarded for an infringement by Argentinian lock Patricio Albacete, made it 16-13 to Leinster at half-time.

Toulouse were quick out of the blocks in the second half, Cedric Heymans putting in a brilliant grubber kick through for Vincent Clerc, who was unable to control the bobbling ball with the try-line at his mercy.

Five minutes after the break the defending champions made good ground from a scrum, Jean Marc Doussain bouncing off Eoin Reddan and offloading to Picamoles who dived over unopposed.

Replays showed Yannick Nyanga holding Sean O’Brien back off the ball, but the score stood and Skrela tagged on the extras.

Sexton responded with two successful penalties to nudge the 2009 champions ahead by two points.

O’Driscoll crossed the Toulouse line for Leinster’s second try on 59 minutes.

Sexton gathered a loose ball and took contact before replacement Isaac Boss passed for O’Driscoll to slip by Clerc and Census Johnston for his try.

Sexton’s conversion put nine points between the sides at 29-20 and Toulouse’s title was slipping from their grasp.

Replacement Bezy landed a penalty from just inside the Leinster half but Sexton completed a fine kicking display by knocking over his sixth penalty in the final minute of the game.

Leinster will now have the chance to reclaim their place at the top of the European pedestal, which they occupied two years ago.

Leinster: I Nacewa; S Horgan, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross, L Cullen (captain), N Hines, K McLaughlin, S O’Brien, J Heaslip.

Replacements: J Harris-Wright, H Van Der Merwe for Healy (53), S Wright for Ross (74), D Toner, S Jennings for McLaughlin (53), I Boss for Reddan (53), I Madigan, F McFadden for Fitzgerald (57).

Not used: Harris-Wright, Toner, Madigan.

Toulouse: C Heymans; V Clerc, F Fritz, C Poitrenaud, M Medard; D Skrela, J Doussain; J-B Poux, W Servat, C Johnston, Y Maestri, P Albacete, J Bouilhou (captain), Y Nyanga, L Picamoles.

Replacements: V Lacombe for Servat (78), D Human for Poux (46), J Falefa for Johnston (68), T Dusautoir for Nyanga (46), N Bezy for Skrela (68), Y Jauzion for Fritz (61), S Sowerby for Picamoles (65), G Lamboley for Maestri (61)

Attendance: 50,073

Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU)

Thank : bbc.co.uk