Inspired Munster rout Toulouse

2014-04-06 11:24
Munster (AFP)

London - Munster produced a typically inspired performance at their beloved Thomond Park to overwhelm Toulouse 47-23 in an emotionally-charged Heineken Cup quarter-final in Limerick on Saturday.

Clermont Auvergne restored French pride with a gritty 22-16 win over Leicester and English Premiership leaders Saracens overcame 14-man Ulster 17-15 in an epic battle in Belfast.

Ireland's Munster repeated their shock 2008 final victory over the most successful team in the competition's history thanks to tries by Keith Earls, Dave Kilcoyne, CJ Stander, Casey Laulala, Simon Zebo and Paul O'Connell.

Toulouse, four-times Heineken Cup winners, trailed 27-9 ten minutes after halftime but a fine try by winger Hosea Gear gave them hope before Munster eased away with three tries in the final quarter.

Munster started fast and winger Earls crossed in the right corner for the opening try after five minutes.

The hosts continued to batter Toulouse and two penalties by flyhalf Ian Keatley stretched the lead to 13-3.

Munster suffered a huge blow when their captain Peter O'Mahony limped off injured and Luke McAlister cut the halftime deficit to 13-9 with two penalties.

The hosts began the second half as explosively as they did the first and rocked Toulouse with two quick tries.

Prop Kilcoyne burrowed over from close range and replacement Stander also capitalised on the dominance of the Munster forwards, led by Ireland lock O'Connell, to cross the line.

New Zealander Gear conjured up an excellent long-range try as the mercurial French side briefly flickered into life but Munster regrouped and Keatley's penalty stretched the lead before Laulala powered over in the left corner.

Joe Tekori surged over the Munster line for a consolation try for the visitors but Zebo and O'Connell crossed for rampant Munster in the dying minutes to seal a famous victory.

"It was great to get the win but the performance was outstanding," Munster coach Rob Penney told Sky Sports.

"It's not a secret how dangerous Toulouse are and great credit to the lads both sides of the ball. They were terrific and you need to be against a side like that."

Clermont roared into a 16-0 lead against Leicester thanks to three penalties by scrumhalf Morgan Parra and a typically opportunist try from France centre Wesley Fofana.

The English side hit back with a try by number eight Jordan Crane but Parra's immaculate boot put the hosts 19-7 ahead at the interval.

Leicester refused to lie down, however, and three penalties by flyhalf Owen Williams cut the deficit to 19-16 midway through the second half.

Leicester replacement forward Thomas Waldrom was sent to the sin bin for an infringement at a ruck and Parra calmed French nerves with another penalty before the hosts subdued the tiring English pack in the closing 10 minutes to seal their 75th consective home win.

Ulster's game against Saracens got off to a dramatic start when the Irish side's fullback Jared Payne was sent off in the fourth minute for a dangerous high tackle on his opposite number Alex Goode who was carried off on a stretcher.

Ulster refused to buckle, however, and Ruan Pienaar put them ahead with a penalty before Saracens winger Chris Ashton sped over for the first try which he celebrated with a trademark swallow dive.

Pienaar kicked two more penalties to put the hosts 9-5 up at the interval but lock Mouritz Botha took advantage of the tiring Irish defence to cross for the second Saracens try.

Ashton touched down in the corner and England flyhalf Owen Farrell made the difficult conversion, his first successful place kick of the game, to put Saracens 17-9 ahead before Paddy Jackson slotted over two penalties for Ulster to ensure a tense finale.

Saracens will play Clermont in the last four with Munster to take on the winners of Sunday's quarter-final between holders Toulon and Leinster.

Read more on:    heineken cup  |  rugby

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