Leinster 22 Toulouse 31 FT: Champions Cup final as it happened

Irish province beaten by French side in extra time in what was a bitter defeat


Here are the player ratings from Johnny Watterson. Gerry Thornley’s report soon to follow. That’s all from me, good evening!


Antoine Dupont gets his medal and lifts the trophy, what a game from him today! Well deserved and next he’ll be going for an Olympic gold in Paris in the Sevens.


A game lost on a few moments: James Lowe’s yellow card was costly, and a controversial decision by the referee and Toulouse exploited to score 10 points. Leinster then did not take advantage of the red card by Toulouse afterwards and were poor with the advantage in the second half of extra time. In ordinary time, perhaps they could have chosen to kick for the posts more often than going for the lineout and maul which wasn’t working. On such small margins are titles decided.


ET 19 mins: Frawley goes for a drop kick and misses, last roll of the dice, pulled it left.

FULL-TIME: Leinster 22 Toulouse 31

Despair for Leinster. The big moments went against them, this one will sting for quite a while.


ET 17 mins: Some gamesmanship by Toulouse working down the clock and killing a few minutes before the scrum. Leinster go ahead and van der Flier knocks it on. That could be that.

Leinster 22 Toulouse 31


ET 15 mins: Penalty scored by Toulouse. Oh dear. Healy gets the ball and runs into trouble, Willis turns it over and another penalty for Toulouse. Ramos takes it and straight over the bar.

Leinster 22 Toulouse 31


ET (Second half) 13 mins: Penalty scored by Toulouse. Caelan Doris penalised for being off his feet and it’s a penalty for Toulouse. Ramos from 44 metres, just scores inside the post. Leinster are six points behind with seven minutes left in extra time.

Leinster 22 Toulouse 28


ET 10+7 mins: James Lowe gets it on the wing, straight back in the action, just stays in as Toulouse try to hang on. Leinster piling forward, Half metre from the line. Van der Flier looks like he got it over, but TMO check.

Finally after many minutes, TRY FOR LEINSTER! The ball was grounded, van der Flier. Frawley converts!

Leinster 22 Toulouse 25


ET 10+2 mins: A maul by Leinster and it’s a penalty advantage for them. James Lowe is back on the pitch and it’s a reversal, now 15 v 14. Leinster kick for touch and go for a try instead of the points.

Leinster 15 Toulouse 25


ET 10 mins: Red card for Toulouse! The refereeing decisions in this half have been questionable, as they seem to miss a knock-on, and gave a penalty to Toulouse. But the TMO goes back after a blow to the head on Cian Healy by Richie Arnold. That changes things significantly.

Leinster 15 Toulouse 25


ET 8 mins: Penalty scored for Toulouse. The French side turn the screw, Ramos makes no mistake.

Leinster 15 Toulouse 25


ET 6 mins: That yellow card to Lowe, so harsh, could be costly. Ramos plucks from the sky and then Dupont pulls off a 50-22. La Marsaillaise rings out from the stadium. Leinster in trouble.

Leinster 15 Toulouse 22


ET 4 mins: Try for Toulouse! Flowing move from Toulouse and Ramos to Chocobares to draws the man and Lebel jumps and finishes emphatically. Ramos converts.

Leinster 15 Toulouse 22


ET 2 mins: Yellow card for Leinster! TMO review on James Lowe, tried to intercept and gets a yellow card! Was flung at him, seems very harsh. Ramos goes for the kick but he just misses to the right.

Leinster 15 Toulouse 15


80 mins: One last attack for Toulouse, or not, they are going nowhere and they kick it out. Extra time!

Leinster 15 Toulouse 15


79 mins: Larmour wins it in the air! Another attack for Leinster, can they do it? Leinster fans roar them on. Frawley goes for the drop goal to win the Champions Cup... but he misses! So close.

Leinster 15 Toulouse 15


77 mins: Penalty scored by Frawley! Scrum advantage to Leinster as Keenan competes with Ntamack in the air and the French outhalf knocks on. Key moment for Leinster ahead!

Scrum penalty for Leinster. Ala’alatoa does well and it’s down to Frawley to level the game... straight down the middle and it’s a level game!

Leinster 15 Toulouse 15


74 mins: Frawley with a good dummy and carry, Leinster making good ground, but Toulouse turn it over again, Antoine Dupont the talismanic figure.

Leinster 12 Toulouse 15


71 mins: Penalty scored by Toulouse! Frawley on for Byrne, who was struggling to move. Kelleher on for Sheehan. Good maul by Toulouse and they win a penalty near the middle of the pitch. Ramos is going to take the kick instead of Kinghorn. To give Toulouse the lead... he nails it.

Leinster 12 Toulouse 15


69 mins: Try for Toulouse disallowed! Some 10 phases for Leinster and Toulouse steal it almost uncontested. Nice attack by Toulouse, key tackle by Gibson-Park on Kinghorn on the wing. Toulouse then get it to Ntamack and he hits it a wondrous kick to Lebel on the wing. Larmour looked caught out but TMO finds that Lebel’s foot was just in touch. Inches away but small margins.

Leinster 12 Toulouse 12


65 mins: Penalty scored by Leinster. Another attacking lineout after a scrum penalty. One more maul is held up, Gibson-Park recycles. A penalty for Leinster, advantage but not really making much ground. Space on the outside for Larmour, Byrne finds him but slow and back for a kick in front of the posts. Byrne scores.

Leinster 12 Toulouse 12


61 mins: Ramos on for Costes, a great kicker but Kinghorn will keep the duties the way he’s been playing. Jack Conan on for Leinster for Baird. Attendance of more than 61,000 today.

Leinster 9 Toulouse 12


58 mins: Penalty scored by Toulouse. Seven phases for Toulouse and Gibson-Park concedes a penalty for offside. Toulouse opt for shooting, as they have all game, Kinghorn shoots from a decent distance and scores.

Leinster 9 Toulouse 12


55 mins: Leinster go again. McCarthy steps away nicely, then Porter to within 10 metres, but from the next phase Chocobares intercepts. Disappointing for Leinster, have to take these chances.

Leinster 9 Toulouse 9


53 mins: Better lineout this time, but they lose the maul and it’s turned over. Questionable decision to not take the points, the maul just hasn’t worked today.

Leinster 9 Toulouse 9


51 mins: Flowing Leinster move, good pace to this half by them as Doris makes some ground. Leinster have another penalty and they choose to kick to the corner.

Leinster 9 Toulouse 9


48 mins: Penalty scored by Leinster! Offside by Toulouse, and Byrne goes for the posts and levels the scores. Well deserved by Leinster, strong start to this half.

Leinster 9 Toulouse 9


45 mins: Baird with a great tackle and turnover after Kinghorn had caught the ball. Leinster went for touch and lineout but Sheehan’s throw was poor and they lose the ball. Josh van der Flier is on for Connors, quality fresh legs.

Leinster 6 Toulouse 9


42 mins: Second half begins with Ntamack continuing where he left off in the first half and gaining significant ground with a kick.

Leinster 6 Toulouse 9


Half-time: Leinster 6 Toulouse 9

Leinster will be reasonably happy to be only three points down after the way the first half went. Toulouse were impressive with their intensity and their halfbacks were outstanding as expected - the French duo of Dupont and Ntamack. Leinster have made some uncharacteristic handling errors and otherwise, but under immense pressure from the French. Game is still evenly poised, it’s an entertaining game despite the fact no try has been scored.


40+4 mins: Penalty scored by Leinster. One last attack by Leinster after winning a penalty from the restart. Some confusion as Lowe scores a try over the line but referee had already blew his whistle to go back to the penalty. Chocobares penalised for an illegal tackle on Jenkins and Byrne opts for the posts, last action of the first half. Byrne drills it over and a three-point game heading into the second half.

Leinster 6 Toulouse 9


40 mins: Penalty missed by Toulouse. Byrne kicks it out on the full from kickoff. Another penalty for Toulouse and again for the posts. Kinghorn with the most difficult of the lot, 54 metres out wide, he pulls this one left.

Leinster 3 Toulouse 9


37 mins: Penalty scored by Toulouse. Another piece of brilliance by Dupont, 50-22 pulled off with perfection. Toulouse’s lineout is good, they go wide, get to five metres out and Leinster concede a penalty. Toulouse choose the posts, as has been their style, as Kinghorn scores easily.

Leinster 3 Toulouse 9


30 mins: Close by Sheehan. Almost a brilliant try by the hooker. Intercepted the ball and then ran almost the whole length of the pitch to five metres as he shimmies past Ntamack. But that man Dupont back again to turn it over, Sheehan penalised for not releasing.

Leinster 3 Toulouse 6


28 mins: Joe McCarthy returns the favour and gets a great turnover in the middle of the pitch. Toulouse though come up the pitch and a quick attack by Toulouse shows their threat, James Lowe is blocked down by Dupont and Ryan Baird has to clear it with his foot.

Leinster 3 Toulouse 6


25 mins: Henshaw makes a great break and makes significant ground. Nic passing play but Ntamack turns over the ball on Henshaw who had started it all.

Leinster 3 Toulouse 6


22 mins: Some big hits by Toulouse, throwing their weight around. Doris and Byrne feel the power. Some kicking back and forth amid strong tackling.

Leinster 3 Toulouse 6


19 mins: Penalty scored by Leinster. Jenkins knocks the ball on as Leinster’s handling not been the best so far. Have to get a score on the board soon. A kick in the air leads to a great hit on Ntamack by Doris and Leinster collect the loose ball. Penalty again for Leinster, this time they go for the posts and Byrne scores.

Leinster 3 Toulouse 6


14 mins: Lovely crossfield kick by Byrne and bounces well for Sheehan on the wing, just too far but Sheehan keeps in brilliantly. Roumat slaps away, got away it that wasn’t seen as deliberate but an attacking lineout ahead. Successful lineout, penalty advantage, five metres out. Good defence by Toulouse and back for the penalty.

Leinster 0 Toulouse 6


12 mins: Byrne into the corner, not following Toulouse by going for the posts. Sheehan’s throw is a good one to Baird and then sets the maul. Five metres out but Leinster are sloppy with it, had an overlap but Byrne and Gibson-Park can’t hold it and Toulouse turn it over.

Leinster 0 Toulouse 6


10 mins: First attacking opportunity for Leinster really after Jenkins collected the kickoff but it’s knocked forward. Cleared and then a lineout and Toulouse concede a penalty. Leinster get their hand on the ball and Lowe finds a gap and almost find Gibson-Park in front of the posts but just misses. Back for the penalty.

Leinster 0 Toulouse 6


8 mins: Toulouse turn over Leinster in a counter ruck, strong forward play by Meafou and Willis. Kinghorn with another go from a penalty and curls it in over the posts. What a start by the French side.

Leinster 0 Toulouse 6


4 mins: Ntamack putting Leinster under pressure with some clever kicks, Leinster not getting much territory so far and concede a penalty in the middle of the pitch. Toulouse opt to shoot, Kinghorn going for the post and his kick is brilliant, straight over from distance.

Leinster 0 Toulouse 3


2 mins: Almost a try for Toulouse! Within two minutes and Dupont showing his skill already. Toulouse down the right wing, a great kick in behind and Dupont does well to run on and offload but his foot is over the line after TMO, great tackle by Gibson-Park saves the day.

Leinster 0 Toulouse 0


Quite a spectacle and atmosphere as the players come out on the pitch in Tottenham.

The starting teams again:

Leinster: Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour, Robbie Henshaw, Jamie Osborne, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Joe McCarthy, Jason Jenkins, Ryan Baird, Will Connors, Caelan Doris (capt).

Stade Toulousain: Blair Kinghorn; Juan Cruz Mallia, Paul Costes, Pita Ahki, Matthis Lebel; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont (capt); Cyril Baille, Peato Mauvaka, Dorian Aldegheri, Thibaud Flament, Emmanuel Meafou, Jack Willis, François Cros, Alexandre Roumat.


The key battle today may well be between the great Antoine Dupont and Jamison Gibson-Park, who has been brilliant in Leinster’s run to the final. John O’Sullivan writes about this clash in today’s paper.

“On Saturday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium two titans in the nine jersey, Leinster’s Jamison Gibson-Park and Toulouse’s Antoine Dupont, will square off. The word “influencer” has become part of the universal lexicon in today’s culture and it could surely apply to both of these players given the direct impact they have on their respective teams, not only in style but in substance.”


Toulouse are formidable, but Leinster’s mentality monsters could earn fairy-tale ending, writes Matt Williams in his column in today’s paper.

“When cut back to its raw essence, this match between two great clubs may be decided by mental strengths, rather than the physical. As the Spartan warriors were taught: “The real test comes when all strength has fled and men must produce victory on will alone.”

The winning factor may be reduced to the oldest of rugby questions – who wants it the most? If it does come down to pure desire, and Leinster can channel their collective mental grit, which has fuelled their mission all season, then they might finally be capable of bringing a fairy-tale ending to their defining obsession.”



Pre-match analysis from Nathan Johns:

Leinster are likely to flood ruck and blitz as the tactic proved effective when limiting La Rochelle’s powerful forward carriers. He writes:

“For the third year in succession, Leinster meet Toulouse in a Champions Cup knockout tie. In 2022 and 2023, the Irish province prevailed at the semi-final stage, outscoring their French opponents by a combined margin of 42 points (40-17 in 2022 and 41-22 last year). For games at a late stage of a premier competition, such scorelines represent a pair of hammerings. This year, with both sides featuring plenty of the same personnel, can Leinster prove their superiority and are their tactics repeatable?”



Speaking of Gerry’s preview, he writes:

Leinster and La Rochelle broke new ground by providing the first back-to-back final pairings, now comes perhaps the grandest of all between European rugby’s grandees.

“This is their 15th meeting in the tournament’s history, including a quarter-final and five semi-finals, and they are both making a joint record eighth final appearance. It is a wonder how the five- and four-time winners have never met in a decider before.

“The Champions Cup undoubtedly features the best two teams in Europe, both over the history of this competition and in current times. It is a pairing befitting such an eye-catching, state-of-the-art stadium, which has not yet seen an elite European sports event quite like this.” Quite the game ahead.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Champions Cup final between Leinster and Toulouse in London. “There are finals and, well, there are finals,” writes Gerry Thornley in his preview to this game, and what a final is in store. The two most successful teams in Champions Cup history go head-to-head in what should be an exciting and evenly-matched final where two of the world’s best players - Antoine Dupont and Jamison Gibson-Park - clash. Garry Ringrose is missing for Leinster but it’s a relatively clean bill of health as Hugo Keenan and James Ryan return. Kick-off is at 2.45pm in the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. Here are the teams:

Leinster: Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour, Robbie Henshaw, Jamie Osborne, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Joe McCarthy, Jason Jenkins, Ryan Baird, Will Connors, Caelan Doris (capt).

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Michael Ala’alatoa, James Ryan, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Ciaran Frawley, Josh van der Flier.

Stade Toulousain: Blair Kinghorn; Juan Cruz Mallia, Paul Costes, Pita Ahki, Matthis Lebel; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont (capt); Cyril Baille, Peato Mauvaka, Dorian Aldegheri, Thibaud Flament, Emmanuel Meafou, Jack Willis, François Cros, Alexandre Roumat.

Replacements: Julien Marchand, Rodrigue Neti, Joel Merkler, Richie Arnold, Joshua Brennan, Paul Graou, Santiago Chocobares, Thomas Ramos.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England).