Toulouse beats Leinster in extra time to win sixth European rugby crown

May 26, 2024 6:21 am

[Source: AP]

Toulouse survived a fierce fightback by Leinster and a late red card to win their European Champions Cup final 31-22 in extra time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this morning.

Despite perfect conditions, the final was tryless in regulation time. Leinster’s Ciaran Frawley kicked a 77th-minute penalty for 15-15 and forced 20 minutes of extra time, where the drama ramped up.

There, Leinster wing James Lowe was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and Toulouse pounced with the final’s first try, finished by Matthis Lebel. Thomas Ramos converted and added a penalty for 25-15.

Article continues after advertisement

Just before Lowe returned, Toulouse lock Richie Arnold was red-carded for head contact on Cian Healy with 11 minutes to go. Leinster gambled on an attacking lineout and Josh van der Flier burrowed over and the deficit was cut to three with 10 left.

But Leinster conceded two breakdown penalties and Ramos kicked both shots between the posts to send Toulouse clear.

The defense hung tough, and moments later the first final between the competition’s most successful teams finished with Toulouse earning a record sixth trophy, two more than Leinster. Leinster lost a third straight final to French teams.

“We really wanted to win the sixth star after losing to Leinster over the last two years (in the semifinals),” said Toulouse captain Antoine Dupont, named man of the match for key turnovers.

Toulouse were on the ropes for long spells in front of a Leinster-heavy crowd of 61,531, yet they made the stronger start. But Toulouse fullback Blair Kinghorn’s four penalties were matched by Ross Byrne.

“Two real quality teams going at it and Toulouse were probably just a bit more clinical,” Leinster coach Leo Cullen said.