Rugby Union

Munster power past Toulouse into semi-finals

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Munster talisman Paul O'Connell drove over the line in the last minute to put the icing on the cake for the Irish side as they routed Toulouse 47-23 in their Heineken Cup quarter-final at Thomond Park.

It was a miserable afternoon for the French side as they were chasing the game from very early on thanks to a Keith Earls try after only five minutes and Ian Keatley converted to show he had a his kicking boots on for what would be a dominant display.

Roared on by the 26,500 crowd - the vast majority of whom were cheering the home team - Munster put on lots of early pressure, but they could not quite shake off their opponents who got back withing range thanks to three penalties from Luke McAlister made it 13-9 at half time and still in the balance.

There was no doubting where the game would be going in the second half, however, as the home side burst out of the gates after the kick-off and needed only two minutes for Dave Kilcoyne to push over after Conor Murray had been denied.

Another two minutes and Munster already looked good for the win as man-of-the-match CJ Stander made it two tries in four minutes after the re-start and Toulouse looked shell-shocked, especially as Yoann Huget looked like he would score moments before.

Referee Nigel Owens had been lecturing the forwards in the scrum for much of the first half and he lost patience soon after the restart, sending try-scorer Kilcoyne and Yohan Montes to the sin bin after another collapse.

It made no difference to the direction of the match however, as Munster were just too organised in the second and put in an extremely efficient team performance. Toulouse did hit back with tries from Hosea Gear and Joe Tekori, but it was too little too late as the Irishmen had put the game out of sight.

Casey Laulala's well-worked try and Simon Zebo's powerful push made it a formality before O'Connell's score rounded off a fine day for Munster, who are in the semi-final and are looking more than strong enough to win their first title since 2008.

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Topics:
Paul O'Connell
Rugby Union
Heineken Cup

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