Saturday 23 February 2019

Leinster taught a lesson in 2010 bid

Flashback, European Cup semi-final: Toulouse 26 Leinster 16, May 1, 2010

Majestic: Skrela
Majestic: Skrela

Once the Holy Grail had at long last been captured in 2009, the goal had to be reset from winning it for the first time to becoming the second club to go back-to-back after Leicester Tigers in 2001 and 2002.

It didn't start off too well as London Irish administered a 12-9 opening day defeat at the RDS which placed a heavy demand on making up lost ground.

They eventually escaped their Pool and should have been beaten by Clermont-Auvergne at the RDS in the quarter-final, where Brock James imploded to miss five penalties and three drop goals. Leinster paid the heavy price of losing Jonathan Sexton to a broken jaw for the semi-final at the Stade Municipal.

Toulouse were never going to be as generous, keeping in mind how they were eclipsed by Leinster in what ranks among the best ever European games in the 2006 quarter-final.

France out-half David Skrela had one of those majestic days when everything he touched turned to gold. He hit 21 points in what was a closer game than the 10-point difference would suggest.

It all came down to Toulouse hitting two tries in six minutes midway through the second-half, as centre Yannick Jauzion and Skrela broke the Blues defence.

The holders refused to wilt as Jamie Heaslip's try and Shaun Berne's touchline conversion reduced the gap to seven in the 65th minute, before Skrela sealed the deal with his fourth penalty.

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