Toulouse raid foggy fortress to secure victory over Munster
The visitors’ well-oiled lineout maul was the launchpad for both tries as Ugo Mola’s men repeated their quarter-final triumph from last season, but without the penalty shootout drama this time.
Joey Carbery did all of Munster’s scoring in the first half, his ninth-minute try edging them ahead and a late penalty squaring it up at 10-10.
With conditions worsening, Toulouse’s hulking pack ground out the result with the key five-pointer coming from replacement Lucas Tauzin just after the break.
Ramos and Carbery traded late penalties and Toulouse, despite losing Antoine Dupont to the sin bin, held on to hand Munster only their second defeat in 21 Champions Cup games in Limerick.
Carbery hit the post with an initial 39-metre place-kick, but Munster had an encouraging start which saw them earn a scrum penalty and get big ball carrier Gavin Coombes involved.
Nice variety off a close-in maul saw Craig Casey feed his half-back partner Carbery for a neatly-taken try, which he converted himself for 7-0.
A cagey kicking battle was developing before Toulouse, advancing from a scrum penalty, fired their first shot in anger.
Pouncing after a powerful maul, quick hands from their backs set up Ramos to swing the ball wide and winger Lebel expertly squeezed over in the left corner. Ramos levelled impressively from the tee.
Calvin Nash intercepted to thwart a Dupont-led break, but Ramos soon rewarded Dorian Aldegheri’s breakdown efforts to move Toulouse ahead at 10-7.
Carbery closed out the first half with an equalising kick, punishing Alban Placines for not rolling away.
The French giants responded within two minutes of the restart. Antoine Frisch conceded a lineout near the home line, the Toulouse maul gained a penalty and Dupont got the ball away for Tauzin to cross in the right corner.
A Munster drive was then swallowed up – Anthony Jelonch getting the defensive plaudits – and Toulouse held onto the momentum courtesy of a counter ruck and a scrum penalty.
Despite Toulouse exerting more control now, Romain Ntamack missed a drop goal and a Ramos penalty fell short.
It was the ice-cool Ramos who silenced the home crowd again. He followed up his own kick to win a turnover penalty which he turned into three points.
Although Carbery cancelled out that kick in the 74th minute, Munster’s handling let them down late on. Toulouse kept them at arm’s length, even with Dupont seeing yellow for a deliberate knock-on.
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