Thanks to four tries, including two by Antoine Dupont at the end of the game, Stade Toulousain achieved the feat of beating Munster 40-33 on their lawn on Saturday in the round of 16 of the Champions Cup. Qualified for the quarterfinals, Toulouse will seek a place in the half against Clermont, who fell behind Wasps a little earlier.
A feat for a habit. The Toulouse Stadium created a surprise on Saturday by winning in the almost impregnable lair of Munster (40-33), to qualify for the twentieth European quarter-final in its history. Les Rouge et Noir will face Clermont, winner of Wasps (27-25) a little earlier next week for a place in the Champions Cup semi-finals.
The Toulousains can thank Mathis Lebel (42nd) and Julien Marchand (55th), authors of an essay each. But also their capital Blues, Antoine Dupont (two tries 69th, 78th) and Romain Ntamack (8 out of 10 at the foot and 20 points).
Munster’s first home loss in the European Cup since 2015
Because the Irish had not lost at home on the continental scene since 2015. The Toulouse ended a series of sixteen games without defeat at Thomond Park (15 wins, one draw).
The culture shock has indeed taken place: strictly Irish, the last champions of France opposed their going and their desire to play, play, play … even if it means sometimes putting themselves in danger, especially in the first period (16-9 ).
But the return of the French internationals (Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack at the hinge, Julien Marchand and Cyril Baille in the front line), occupied by the late match of the Blues in the Six Nations Tournament, helped stabilize Toulouse, who remained on a setback in front of Montpellier (29-16) in Top 14.
And now Clermont
As a result, Ugo Mola’s men finished strong with four tries in the second half. They therefore won against Munster for the first time since 2003. Since then, Toulouse have fallen twice against the same opponent: 47-23 in 2014 then 41-16 in 2017.
Better, they confirm that the Irish air suits them well: the Toulousains won during their last three trips to Ireland in the European Cup, against Connacht (21-7) last season, in Ulster (29- 22) this season and against Munster, therefore. But it is in France, for a 100% Top 14 duel, revenge of the last final, that the Toulouse residents will seek a ticket for the last four.
It will be necessary to repeat the performance against Clermontois undefeated at home against Toulouse since 2002 (15 wins, one draw). A new feat?