Munster march into last four
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 15:21
Munster made light work of Toulouse, in a repeat of the 2008 European Cup final, as they ran in six tries in a 47-23 win to stroll into the semifinals.
They have set-up a clash with the winners of Sunday's fourth quarterfinal - between Toulon and Leinster.
Munster's solid approach work up front laid the foundations for their stunning victory and they made their intentions obvious from the start by stealing Toulouse's opening two line-outs.
The first steal was from inspirational skipper Peter O'Mahony, but he left the fray early with a shoulder problem.
In his absence, CJ Stander came on to celebrate his 24th birthday in great style by scoring a try and picking up the man of the match award.
The home struck early and notched their first try within five minutes.
They went through 20 phases as they inched their way ever nearer the Toulouse try line before a pass out of contact by Simon Zebo released fellow wing Keith Earls to score wide out on the right.
Ian Keatley stroked over the conversion as the noise went from a deathly hush for the goal-kick to total mayhem at a packed Thomond Park.
Toulouse, record four times winners of the European Cup, have been poor of late in their domestic Top 14 championship and were completely out of sorts in the opening half-an-hour, yet by half-time they were only four points adrift thanks to three penalties from the boot of Luke McAlister.
Any thoughts of a revival for the French side disappeared within two minutes of the re-start when prop Dave Kilcoyne burrowed his way over.
That try was quickly followed by another from birthday boy CJ Stander, who ensured Munster didn't miss their skipper when he replaced him.
The introduction of Lionel Beauxis in place of McAlister at No.10 made a difference to the Toulouse side and they grabbed consolation second half tries from Hosea Gear and Joe Tekori.
But Munster were never in danger and tries from Simon Zebo and Paul O'Connell rounded things off and made it 23 wins out of 23 against French opposition in the European Cup at fortress Thomond.
Tries: Earls, Kilcoyne, Stander, Laulala, Zebo, O'Connell
Cons: Keatley 4
Pens: Keatley 3
Tries: Gear, Tekori
Cons: Beauxis 2
Pens: McAlister 3
Yellow cards: Dave Kilcoyne (Munster - repeated scrum infringements), Yohan Montes (Toulouse - repeated scrum infringements)
Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony (captain), 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Dave Foley, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 John Ryan, 18 Alan Cotter, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Gerhard van den Heever.
Toulouse: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Joe Tekori, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Yohan Montes, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Cyril Baille , 19 Romain Millo-Chluski, 20 Gillian Galan, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Lionel Beauxis, 23 Clement Poitrenaud.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Neil Hennessy (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)
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