All good things have to come to an end, but nobody would have expected Leinster to lose their 14-match unbeaten record this season in such style. Not only did they concede six second-half tries here yesterday, but they also lost home advantage in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.
Instead of rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of entertaining either Llanelli or Munster, both of whom they beat in their march to the Celtic League crown earlier in the season, they now find themselves contemplating a trip to face the reigning European champions at Welford Road at the end of the month.
True, Reggie Corrigan's men had had a hell of a week. They spent an extra night in Newcastle the previous weekend, when their game against the Falcons fell victim to the big freeze, and they were back on the road to Leeds two days later to complete the fixture.
They simply ran out of steam in Toulouse as they became the latest victims of the French champions' bold attacking style. For Newport the previous weekend simply substitute Leinster, who went from 3-0 down at the break to 36-0 in arrears in the space of 21 compelling minutes.
The Leinster coach Matt Williams gambled on an attacking approach, switching Brian O'Driscoll from centre to outside-half, but the man with the magic touch never got the service to unduly trouble Toulouse. Instead it was the home runners who caused all the damage, with the wing Cedric Heymans scoring a hat-trick of tries in the space of 14 minutes in the second half.
Toulouse: Tries Heymans 3, Maka, Marfaing, Ntamack; Conversions: Delaigue 4, Michalak; Penalty: Delaigue.
Leinster: Try Costello; Conversion O'Meara.
Toulouse: C Poitrenaud (E Ntamack, 64); N Jeanjean, C Desbrosse, X Garbajosa (M Marfaing, 52), C Heymans; Y Delaigue (J Fillol, 64), F Michalak; J Poujade (B Lecouls, 27), Y Bru (W Servat, 65), F Tournaire, H Miorin, F Pelous (capt), J Bouilhou (D Gerrard, 62), F Maka (D Lacroix, 62), C Labit.
Leinster: G Dempsey (P McKenna, 78); D Hickie, A Magro (B Willis, 77, S Horgan, G Darcy; B O'Driscoll, B O'Meara; R Corrigan (capt, P Coyle 70), S Byrne (G Hickie, 78), P Wallace, L Cullen, R Casey, T Brennan (A McCullen, 70), K Gleeson (L Toland, 78), V Costello.
Referee: S Leyshon (England).Reuse content