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Two-time Heineken Champions Cup winners Munster Rugby and four-time winners Toulouse square-off in a not to be missed Round of 16 tie between the two European behemoths.
Toulouse enjoyed a bonus point victory over Ulster Rugby in the opening round of fixtures before being awarded a 28-0 victory over Exeter Chiefs. The French side finished third in the Pool B standings.
The hosts, meanwhile, defeated Gallagher Premiership side Harlequins 21-7 in Round 1 before a sensational 39-31 comeback win over ASM Clermont Auvergne – JJ Hanrahan kicking 24 points in the victory.
The pair now face off at Thomond Park at 15:00 (UK and Irish time) on Saturday afternoon for a place in the quarter-finals. You can watch the action live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and beIN SPORTS and FR2 in France.
Munster Rugby: 4th Heineken Champions Cup Pool B (8 points)
Toulouse: 3rd Heineken Champions Cup Pool B (10 points)
Munster Rugby wins: 4
Toulouse wins: 2
Who remembers 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 quarter-final at Thomond Park in 2017? 🤩
Ahead of this weekend's TITANIC clash between @Munsterrugby and @StadeToulousain, here's a #ThrowbackThursday to remind you ⬇️
Who are you backing this time around in the #HeinekenChampionsCup knockouts? pic.twitter.com/oy64NCoavF
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 1, 2021
Leading 2020/21 points-scorers
Munster Rugby: JJ Hanrahan (30)
Toulouse: Cheslin Kolbe (10)
Munster Rugby (Johann van Graan): “Toulouse won’t care that we lost last week (in the Guinness PRO14 final) against Leinster Rugby last weekend, that’s the reality of the situation, they are going to come to Thomond Park for blood and we have to be ready to match that physically.”
- Munster and Toulouse have met six times previously in the Heineken Champions Cup, the Irish province winning four of those clashes, including each of the last three.
- Munster have hosted Toulouse twice before in the Heineken Champions Cup, winning both encounters by large margins, 47-23 in the 2013/14 quarter-finals and 41-16 in the 2016/17 quarter-finals.
- Munster are unbeaten in 16 home games in the Heineken Champions Cup (W15, D1), their last such defeat coming in 2015 against Leicester Tigers.
- At home, Munster have won nine of their 10 knock-out games in the Heineken Champions Cup, Ulster in 2012 the only side to beat them in such a match.
- Toulouse have won both of their last two away games against Irish opponents in the Heineken Champions Cup, beating both Connacht and Ulster in 2020, that is as many wins as they’d managed in their previous 10 such matches.
- This match pits the side with the most Heineken Champions Cup appearances, Munster (182), against the side with the third most, Toulouse (175).
- Between them either Munster or Toulouse (or both) have appeared in nine of the 25 Heineken Champions Cup finals, although neither has reached that stage since 2009/10 (Toulouse).
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Antoine Dupont scored a brace as Toulouse ran out 40-33 winners over Munster Rugby in an entertaining Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clash at Thomond Park.
It was Munster who went in seven points ahead at the break, but four tries from the four-time European champions in the second period helped them secure a spot in next weekend’s quarter-finals, where they will face ASM Clermont Auvergne.
The two sides traded early penalties with fly-half Romain Ntamack getting the better of the duel, leaving Toulouse 6-3 ahead on 20 minutes.
But Munster soon responded with two tries in four minutes.
The first came through Keith Earls after some lovely work from Damian de Allende to sell a dummy, whilst he again found a gap in the Toulouse defence for the second try before Conor Murray hit Earls for his second of the afternoon.
Keith Earls in the corner for @Munsterrugby again 🔴
Sensational from Damien de Allande in the build-up and the home side are rolling at Thomond Park!#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/4orslsiUdq
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 3, 2021
Ntamack and Joey Carbery again traded successful penalty kicks before the break, but it was an inspired Toulouse outfit who returned for the second period.
They punctured several few holes in the Munster line, giving Ntamack space to chip over the top into the hands of Matthis Lebel who dived over for the try on 44 minutes.
The two sides continued to trade blows, with flanker Jack O’Donoghue crossing for the hosts and soon after, captain and hooker Julien Marchand crossed in similarly powerful fashion.
After more threes were traded by Ntamack and Carbery, Toulouse took full control in a blistering final 15 minutes.
OH WHAT A STEP! 😱
Toulouse at their blistering best as Matthis Lebel leaves his defender in the dust before feeding Antoine Dupont!
Wait for the slow-mo, that is just rude 🔥#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/4ZHjDB9WnQ
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 3, 2021
It was Antoine Dupont with the name on the scoresheet but in truth it was a beautiful all-round move from Toulouse.
Cheslin Kolbe and Lebel combined to leave JJ Hanrahan on the deck before the latter found Dupont to run in and score at the sticks.
And the game was won with four minutes to play as a nice offload from Clement Castets hit the French scrum-half yet again and he cleared away with ease to score under the posts and secure a spot in the last eight
Gavin Coombes would go over at the death for the hosts but was mere consolation for Munster.
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