Champions Cup semi-final: Leinster 30-12 Toulouse


Defending champions Leinster will face Saracens in the Champions Cup final after grinding down fellow four-time winners Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium.

James Lowe's smart finish and Luke McGrath's drive over gave Leinster a deserved 11-point lead at the break.

Thomas Ramos' boot briefly brought Toulouse back within range, but Scott Fardy burrowed over to convert a spell of second-half pressure.

An increasingly desperate Toulouse rarely threatened a comeback.

Leinster will be aiming to become the first team in the competition to lift the trophy for a fifth time in the 11 May showpiece.

Their trademark efficiency and accuracy was on full display as their well-oiled gameplan nullified Toulouse's power and creativity.

But it would be wrong to credit only the collective strength of Leo Cullen's side.

Prop Cian Healy and London Irish-bound flanker Sean O'Brien showed fine individual skill as their crisp hands helped spring Lowe for the first try on 14 minutes.

With Toulouse second row Richie Gray sin-binned for a cynical knock-on at the base of a ruck, Leinster exploited their man advantage with a mammoth driven maul from which McGrath emerged with the ball and score.

The home side's defence was equally well-judged. Robbie Henshaw's knock-on under his own post earned him a yellow card of his own, but averted a likely try with Charlie Faumuina poised to thunder into contact.

When Fardy, a late replacement in the starting line-up for Rhys Ruddock, barged over Toulouse's realistic hopes were snuffed out.

The showdown against Saracens, who have made serene progress to the final after a quarter-final defeat by Leinster last year, promises to be a intriguing clash.