Leinster 30-12 Toulouse: Defending champions ease past ill-disciplined visitors
Last Updated: 22/04/19 8:26am
Leinster will face Saracens in the Champions Cup final in Newcastle after beating Toulouse 30-12 at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
Clinical finishing was the difference between the sides as James Lowe and Luke McGrath crossed for first-half tries to put the Irish province in control with a 17-6 lead at half-time.
Scott Fardy then went over after the break, and Johnny Sexton converted all three tries and slotted two penalties in a man-of-the-match performance while Ross Byrne added the finishing touches with a penalty in the final minutes.
Toulouse's points came courtesy of three penalties from Thomas Ramos and one from replacement Romain Ntamack, but as good as the defending champions were, the Top 14 side gifted them points with reckless decision-making and sloppy errors to exit the European stage on the back of a disappointing semi-final display.
Toulouse started the game the better of the two teams, and were 3-0 up early when James Ryan was penalised for impeding at a ruck.
However, Charlie Faumuina then failed to roll away at a tackle which allowed Sexton to pull Leinster level, and it got worse for the Frenchmen as Ramos kicked the resulting restart dead. From the scrum on the halfway line Leinster worked their way up the field before Lowe powered through the cover defence to crash over in the corner.
Sexton converted from out wide, and Toulouse's theme of designing their own downfall continued shortly thereafter when Richie Gray was sent to the bin for cynically slapping the ball out of McGrath's hand at the base of a ruck.
Sexton kicked to the corner from the penalty, and McGrath dived down from the back of a driving maul to make it 17-3 after 25 minutes.
As the half-hour mark approached the Top 14 side got back into the game, and when Robbie Henshaw stuck a hand out on his own tryline at a ball he had no realistic chance of catching, he was sent to the bin as Ramos reduced the deficit by three points.
Leinster looked set to take a big lead into the break when Lowe dotted down near the sticks with the clock in the red, but it was ruled out for obstruction in the build-up which left Leinster 17-6 on top at the end of the first half.
As was the case in the first half, Toulouse were out the blocks quicker than Leo Cullen's men after the break, and added three points when that pressure drew a penalty from the Leinster defence.
But Leinster turned the pressure around once again, and their confidence to kick penalties to the corner rather than at goal finally paid off when Fardy powered his way over from close range for a 24-9 advantage after the conversion.
Toulouse managed to claw three points back with an Ntamack penalty on the hour mark, but the damage had been done, and the visitors' inability to score tries eventually cost them the game as penalties from Sexton and Byrne capped off a dominant display from a Leinster side aiming for back-to-back titles when they take on Saracens at St James' Park on May 11.