Toulouse beat Munster on penalties to make Champions Cup semis

·3-min read

Holders Toulouse beat Munster in a penalty shootout after fighting back to draw 24-24 in Dublin on Saturday to reach the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup.

In only the second shootout in the competition's 27-year history, Conor Murray missed once and Ben Healy twice, while Toulouse landed their first four kicks.

In the previous shootout, Leicester Tigers beat Cardiff in the 2009 last four.

"Against a great team, we're going to keep the memory of what we did here, it's powerful," Toulouse full-back Thomas Ramos told France Televisions.

"It was a crazy match, with an unusual finish, we kept our heads better than them. We found it hard today, but we're still in it."

The French club will return to Dublin to face Leinster next weekend after the Irish province overcame the Tigers 23-14 at Welford Road later in the day.

Leinster scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park was impressed by Toulouse.

"They're an unbelievable team, they went to Ireland today and won which shows how good they can be," Gibson-Park told BT Sport.

"We'll take it a day at a time and prepare for as best as we can for next week."

There were more than 40,000 at the Aviva Stadium, for a game moved to the Irish capital because of two Ed Sheeran concerts at Munster's Thomond Park in Limerick.

In the 19th quarter-final for both clubs, Alex Kendellen powered over to give Munster an early lead but France fly-half Romain Ntamack responded after 12 minutes.

Just before the half-hour, Les Bleus winger Matthis Lebel strolled over in the corner following a dominant scrum by the visitors.

Ireland fly-half Joey Carbery missed a 34th-minute penalty before atoning by setting up Keith Earls and converting the try to make the score 14-14 at the interval.

Munster controlled the game after the break.

Carbery missed a penalty but full-back Mike Haley crossed after just four minutes of the second half.

Toulouse coach Ugo Mola then sent on three of the international forwards waiting on his bench, including Grand Slam-winning prop Cyril Baille.

- Arnold yellow -

But things got worse for Toulouse with half an hour left. Ireland winger Simon Zebo was tip-tackled late by Rory Arnold, who was shown a yellow card.

With Wallabies lock Arnold off, Carbery extended Munster's advantage to 10 points with a little over 20 minutes of regular time to play.

After Arnold returned, Lebel found a gap following a lineout and extravagantly side-stepped Zebo.

Ramos kicked the simple conversion to silence the crowd and set up a tense final 10 minutes with Toulouse trailing 24-21.

Full-back Ramos then brought the teams level with a 75th-minute penalty before Healy just missed a long-range effort with the clock in the red to send the game into two 10-minute halves of extra time.

As the players started to tire, and nerves, on and off the field, frayed, Healy and Ramos missed drop goals before Healy sent a late attempt wide to send the game into a penalty shootout.

Healy missed his two efforts either side of Murray's failed attempt, sending Toulouse, faultless with their four kicks, through to a fourth semi-final in as many years.

Elsewhere, last year's runners-up La Rochelle will face Racing 92 or Sale Sharks for a place in the final, after easing past Montpellier 31-19 as former New Zealand back-rower Victor Vito scored his first try of the season.

The Sharks head to Paris on Sunday with England flanker Ben Curry making his first start since the Six Nations.

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