Superlatives will soon run out to talk about this Leinster team. Without being brilliant this Saturday, the Irish nevertheless won with a 19-point lead (41-22), giving the impression of never being worried. Demonstrating formidable efficiency and foolproof defense, Leo Cullen's players seem untouchable. Deprived in particular of Jonathan Sexton and James Lowe, the Leinster players have nevertheless offered themselves a new European Cup final, which is moreover at home, with the possibility of equaling the title record of their opponent of the day ( 5 titles for Stade Toulousain).
The two best Toulouse players on the pitch this Saturday afternoon. If he was watched a lot by the defense of Leinster, Antoine Dupont was able to show an activity in all tests by offering himself to the four corners of the field. Always in support of his partners, as usual, he is also one of the rare Toulousains to have found flaws and to have made his team progress. Like his captain, Jack Willis has also advanced in the majority of his duels, whether in defense or attack. Impressive since his arrival in France during the season, he held his rank at Aviva Stadium with enormous defensive work, rewarded with a try at the very end of the match (80th 3).
Difficult to put forward an Irish player rather than another on this meeting, so much it is a whole team which made speak its power. But Jack Conan, author of the first two tests of his team, represents the symbol of realism of Leinster well. Very present in defense with in particular a great activity in the rucks, he carried out a performance in the image of his team: without great brilliance but terribly effective in all sectors of the game.
Stade Toulousain supporters must not have appreciated: the arbitration of Waynes Barnes will make people talk in Haute-Garonne. If the yellow card against Thomas Ramos is severe, the English referee simply applied the rule. On the other hand, we could reproach him for not having reported or wished to review the cathedral veneer suffered by Mallia (34th) despite the requests of Ugo Mola from his bench. The yellow card inflicted on Neti (56th) is also very severe, not to mention the many contentious phases of play in the rucks in which the Irish have almost never been sanctioned despite the many slowed balls.
Everything had started so well for the Toulouse back. Author of an excellent 50-22 just before the first try of the meeting (10th), he seemed to be launching to deliver an excellent performance. Only here, four minutes later he gave a touch to the Irish before committing forward deemed voluntary by the referee and scooping a yellow card. Without him his teammates conceded a bloody 14-0 in 10 minutes. Caught up on the third Irish try (26th), he encountered many difficulties in his choices and the technical realization of his gestures throughout the rest of the match.
Who knows if, without the premature exit of the Toulouse center, the turn of the match would have been completely different? After his injury, the staff of the Rouge et Noir had to modify their three-quarter line in the wide widths: Dupont in 10, Ntamack in 13 and Graou in the position of scrum half. But by touching one (the?) best hinge in the world, Stade Toulousain may have condemned itself. Romain Ntamack, very discreet, played the match without ever showing off while Paul Graou encountered difficulties in his choices and in his game at several times during the match. Hampered by the Irish pressure and the lack of protection in the rucks, he surely did not expect to play so much and he struggled to put himself to his advantage. Changes that were felt on the offensive animation of Toulouse, without solutions to cross the Irish defense.