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Jack Willis' Toulouse dispose of Exeter to book date with Harlequins

Antoine Dupont of Stade Toulousain interacts with players of Exeter Chiefs after his team's victory in the Investec Champions Cup Quarter Final match between Stade Toulousain and Exeter Chiefs at Stade Ernest Wallon on April 14, 2024 in Toulouse, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Five-time champions Toulouse booked their place in the semi-finals of the Investec Champions Cup as they disposed of visiting Exeter Chiefs with a nine-try 64-26 victory at the Stade Ernest Wallon.


The French giants were made to fight in an end-to-end first half, but in the end their vast European experience proved too much for Rob Baxter’s youthful side, who were denied the opportunity of an all-English semi-final with Harlequins.

Going with an unchanged starting line-up from that which defeated Bath in the last 16, it was the Chiefs who started on the front foot, taking the lead inside five minutes when Henry Slade slotted them in front with a penalty just metres from the home try-line.

That early lead, however, lasted just a matter of minutes as Toulouse claimed the game’s opening score when a burst down the left flank from Matthis Lebel carved the opening for Romain Ntamack to glide over for the try, converted by Blair Kinghorn.

A second Slade penalty kept the visitors firmly in the hunt, before fellow England international Ethan Roots got the Chiefs back in front once more, thundering his way over from a crafty tap penalty move to claim their opening score, which Slade was able to add the extras to.

Kinghorn and Slade exchanged successful penalties apiece as the Chiefs continued to keep their more illustrious hosts at bay. But, as half-time approached, it was the French side who clawed their way back in front.

Investec Champions Cup
64 - 26
Exeter Chiefs
All Stats and Data

Centre Pita Ahki was the architect, his powerful run shaking off the attentions of Josh Hodge, before he fed the ball to former Wasps forward Jack Willis, who steamrollered his way over Harvey Skinner for the converted score.


Although there was little to choose between the sides at the turn, it was Toulouse who came out firing in the second period. Playing with advantage just minutes into the half, the hosts used their powerful pack to punch their way into enemy territory, the fruits of which allowed Kinghorn to find his way over for the score he also converted.

Worse was to follow just moments later as Ahki was able to race over for their fourth score, the centre given the freedom of the field as he finished off a brilliant switch back to Lebel, who picked his spot between Chiefs duo Jack Yeandle and Marcus Street.

The quick one-two from Toulouse had left the Chiefs reeling, but they were floored by a knockout double as first Kinghorn finished off a stunning back move in the right corner, before the dangerous Antoine Dupont got in on the scoring act, sidestepping his way over the whitewash for another converted score.

22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
Avg. Points Scored

To their credit, the Chiefs refused to go quietly, claiming a consolation score when youngster Zack Wimbush was able to power his way through the middle following a five-metre line-out.


That would, however, be a rare highlight in a second half dominated by Toulouse, who wrapped up their victory with tries in the final quarter from Ahki and two from Juan Cruz Mallia.



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Abe 1 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

7 Go to comments
Turlough 6 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

17 Go to comments
FEATURE Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt