Munster 16-13 Toulouse
SCORES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)
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1909: Right, that's about it from me. Thanks very much for your company - it's been a good day. Take care and I'll see you all soon.
"Well done Munster! Euro champions again which won me £100 in the process! Fantastic. Drinking time now!"
mcrjfNo7 on 606
"My God, we like to do it the hard way. The best game I have ever seen."
Munstermanchester on 606
"Absolutely fantastic game. Well played Munster."
weonlysingwhenwefish on 606
1901: The Munster players gather on the podium. O'Connell and Ronan O'Gara step up to lift the trophy. The fireworks explode and the music blares out. O'Connell forgets about celebrating for a moment as he tries to get Kidney on the stage with him. That just about sums up Munster's ethos doesn't it? Now I may not be very good at predictions, but I reckon that there will be one hell of a party in Cardiff tonight. Sore heads all round tomorrow morning then.
"I think this is more satisfying than 2006 because of the journey we've had. I've only played three our of nine games so credit must go to the whole squad. They are incredible people and this is becoming an incredible organisation to be a part of. There is a commitment to the jersey and there is a huge pride in wearing it. It is just incredible, we showed bottle and courage and the crowd carried us home."
Munster skipper Paul O'Connell
1858: Pelous will not collect another Heineken Cup, it is a loser's medal for him. He leads his shell-shocked players onto the podium and they trudge off past the shimmering trophy.
"If that is the showpiece game of European rugby then congratulations Munster, you have bored us all. Found the cricket more exciting and that's saying something."
From CG via text
1856: Coach Declan Kidney calmly walks away from his place in the stand. He does not do sentiment but this has been some way to mark his departure from Munster.
"We had to work so hard for this. A few people wrote us off before the game but we had unbelievable support from people who believed in us. Toulouse had us on the rack in the first 20 minutes and we were lucky to hold on but the effort from everyone, not just the 22 in the squad, has been immense. We are very proud to represent Munster and Ireland. We are over the moon."
Munster flanker Alan Quinlan
FULL-TIME: Munster 16-13 Toulouse
It's all over, the final whistle goes and delirium ensues. The Munster players and fans in the stadium goes bananas, as do the thousands back in O'Connell street. They have won the Heineken Cup for the second time and they deserve it, just.
80 mins: That's is it. Toulouse number eight Shaun Sowerby spills the ball in midfield and Munster counter. Toulouse concede the penalty and Munster tap and go.
78 mins: Munster have 17 or so phases before they eventually concede a penalty. Toulouse batter the ball downfield. This is their last chance now. The Munster fans raise the roof, they know their side are so, so close.
77 mins: Munster are happy to pick and go with the forwards. They are not going anywhere but if you are a Munster fan, it does not matter, the clock is winding down and Toulouse cannot do anything about it.
"I was half expecting this game to be an Ireland v France repeat of recent years... France storm into big early lead, Ireland make vain attempt to get back but end in glorious failure. SO GLAD i was wrong.... IF Munster can just hold on!!"
ramilas1 on 606
75 mins: Munster break from deep after some more superb work from Wallace at the breakdown. They win the turnover and the ball is spread wide but Lifeimi Mafi cannot find his man as a try looks on. The trophy was there for Munster then.
73 mins: Toulouse can relieve the pressure after Munster hold on in a ruck. There is six minutes to go. Can Munster hang on? Horan back on. Manu Ahotaeiloa on for Donguy.
72 mins: Great step from Rua Tipoki to open up the Toulouse defence. As he nears the line, he offloads to O'Connell but the second-rower knocks on. That was a chance.
71 mins: Pick and go from Munster. They are in the Toulouse 22 now.
"Come on Munster, I've just come back from staying with a family near Toulouse and I really want to be able to gloat at them tonight!"
munster384 on 606
68 mins: As another rendition of "The Fields Of Athenry" rings around the Millennium Stadium, Munster keep the ball in the forwards, sneaking in and around the fringes. This will suit them.
"A Toulouse win can only be good for rugby. Munster play such dull rugby."
From Steveo via text
65 mins: PENALTY Munster 16-13 Toulouse
Pelous receives a final warning after he concedes a penalty for not rolling away from the tackle. He will be off if he does that again. Owens then marches Munster nearer the posts as there is a bit of back chat and O'Gara puts his side ahead.
63 mins: Nervy, nervy times for Munster. Toulouse spread it wide and they look threatening but Kelleher fires a cross-field to no-one in particular and the chance goes. Millo-Chluski is on for Patricio Albacete while Munster prop Marcus Horan departs for Tony Buckley.
62 mins: Elissalde looks as if he shaping up for a drop-goal, only to dummy, but the Munster defence read him well. Pelous is back on.
"This try is the last thing Munster need, now they need to capitalise on Toulouse being a man down and get at least one more try on the board and then attempt to close this game out."
nrj25988 on 606
60 mins: Heymans tries a ridiculous drop-goal from distance. It is nowhere near. O'Connell returns with a hefty bandage around his head.
"And now the touch judge is in on it. Yellow card to Pelous for a rather tame kick on Quinlan. Shocking performance from the officials. But hey, how many times have we seen Munster get away with playing the refs?"
From Tinoflyer on 606
58 mins: O'Connell goes off to the blood bin, Mick O'Driscoll takes his place.
54 mins: TRY Munster 13-13 Toulouse
If my previous entry was a little critical, then this one is completely the opposite as full-back Heymans levels the match with a moment of brilliance. He takes his own line-out, chips forward, collects it, then chips forward again to leave the Munster defence scrambling. Jauzion hacks on and Donguy touches down. Wonderful skill and what a response from the French side. Elissalde converts.
51 mins: PENALTY Munster 13-6 Toulouse
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Pelous and Alan Quinlan have a little falling out as the teams prepare for a scrum. As Quinlan walks back to his position, Pelous gives him a right boot up the backside. Referee Owens confers with the touch judge, who rules that the former France skipper should be yellow carded. The card is a little harsh but Pelous should not have done that. O'Gara gratefully accepts the three points.
50 mins: Doug Howlett thinks he has put Munster in control of the game after running in from 40m out. Play is brought back however as centre Lifeimi Mafi's pass to release him is forward.
47 mins: Pelous again charges forward but Munster compete at the breakdown, winning the penalty, and they can clear their lines.
43 mins: Toulouse get a line out in Munster's 22 when Hurley makes a horlicks of a deep grubber but lock Paul O'Connell rips the ball out of Pelous' hands as he aims for the try line. Good work.
41 mins: O'Gara starts the second half and Toulouse immediately concede a scrum.
1800: Just to let you know, Avram Grant has had his contract terminmated by Chelsea. That's a turn up. Meanwhile, in Cardiff, the players are back out for the second-half.
"I must say, as an independent Welshman, the ref is having a shocker! He seems to be playing to the crowd and awarding everything to Munster!"
theosprellian on 606
HALF-TIME: Munster 10-6 Toulouse
Where did that 40 minutes go? The players trudge off after an enthralling half. Munster were not in the game in the opening 20 minutes but they were superb from then on in. This is all to play for now.
40 mins: PENALTY Munster 10-6 Toulouse
Toulouse get their hands on the ball and Leamy is pinged, somewhat harshly, for going into a ruck off his feet. Elissalde steps up and knocks over the lengthy penalty attempt. That was a fine kick.
38 mins: Toulouse flanker Yannick Nyanga on for Thierry Dusautoir.
36 mins: PENALTY Munster 10-3 Toulouse
What a few minutes for Munster. Toulouse hooker William Servat is wayward with a line-out and O'Leary steals the ball at the back. Toulouse bring him down before he can do too much damage but skipper Pelous does not roll away from the tackle and O'Gara slots over the simple penalty. Toulouse have lost their way and now it is Munster dictating play.
33 mins: TRY Munster 7-3 Toulouse
Munster feel very hard done by and how they respond. The resulting Toulouse scrum is sent backwards at a rate of knots and Munster gain possession again. They pummel the line and Leamy, with the help of his aggressive pack, powers over from close range. O'Gara converts.
30 mins: Massive moment. Munster are held up inches from the line and number eight Denis Leamy goes over the top of the ruck. But just as he touches down, he loses control of the ball. Replays of the incident are greeted with cheers from the Munster fans but their optimism does not persuade the video referee, who rules no try.
29 mins: This game has turned for the moment. Kiwi wing Doug Howlett and Ireland flanker David Wallace have a go at the Toulouse defence - Munster are nearing the line.
28 mins: Better, much better from Munster. They string together 14 phases of play to put Toulouse under a bit of pressure for the first time. Heymans knocks on from a grubber inside his own 22 and Munster can go again.
25 mins: Finally Munster get on the front foot when hooker Jerry Flannery goes on the charge and punches a bit of a hole in the Toulouse line. However, as he fails to the floor, a considerate team-mate treads on the side of the head. Nice.
23 mins: Let off for Toulouse. Wing Yves Donguy looks very, very tentative as he tries to collect a Tomas O'Leary box kick. He attempts to run from deep and looks to have been caught in possession but referee Nigel Owens penalises Munster for playing the ball on the floor. As you would imagine, that decision is not greeted favourably by those of a Munster persuasion.
21 mins: Munster are given a bit of breathing space when Heymans fires a touchfinder out on the full and the Irish side get a line-out on halfway.
19 mins: Thankfully for this poor keyboard, it's gone a bit quiet in Cardiff. Munster are still struggling to get out of their own half though.
"Come on boys, from an Irishman living near Toulouse. I want to wear my Ireland top tonight!!"
turtlin on 606
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13 mins: Toulouse inch forward and Elissalde again goes for a drop-goal. This one goes wide however.
11 mins: Toulouse are using their tactical kicking game well. Gifted centre Yannick Jauzion produces a lovely chip before lock Fabien Pelous, that's right lock Fabien Pelous, delivers a fine grubber kick to the corner. My colleague has just said to me: "They look ominous at the moment don't they?" That's about right.
9 mins: DROP-GOAL Munster 0-3 Toulouse
Munster full-back Denis Hurley has had a nervy start. He fails to gather a grubber kick and Toulouse take advantage - Elissalde eventually slotting over a drop-goal.
6 mins: Former All Black scrum-half Byron Kelleher does not look before passing in the centre of the pitch, gifting Alan Quinlan an interception. The blind-side flanker goes on the charge but Toulouse defend well and can clear their lines.
5 mins: It's all Toulouse. They try and break the Munster line and eventually a penalty is conceded, we think by inside centre Rua Tipoki, which is in kicking range. Jean-Baptiste Elissalde goes for goal but the ball just goes wide. That is a let off.
3 mins: Munster concede an early penalty and although Cedric Heymans does not find touch with his clearance, Tomas O'Leary's knock-back into play rolls out of the dead-ball area and Toulouse have a five-metre scrum. Nervy start for Munster.
1701: Toulouse start the match but they manage to win the ball back and they enjoy some early confidence-building possession.
1659: The teams walk down the tunnel and onto the pitch. I'll leave you to guess how noisy the reception is. Unbelievable.
"Atmosphere really building now with one minute to go. Huge roars from Munster clan as team finish warm-up and head back to the dressing room."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer in Cardiff
Gregory Lamboley is on the bench for Toulouse after half-back Valentin Courrent fails a late fitness test.
1658: Munster will not be in their traditional red strip today as they lost the toss - they will be wearing blue - although they are in the same away dressing room as they were in 2006.
1655: Here's Toulouse scrum-half Byron Kelleher on where his side might have the advantage. "The flair of the French and their ability with the ball could swing it in our favour."
Television coverage is also showing shots of a packed Place du Capitole in Toulouse where fans are gathered in front of a large screen.
1652: Just to let you know that the wonderful Sam Lyon is on the cricket channel with latest updates on the England v New Zealand Test match from Old Trafford. Did I also tell you that he is devilishly handsome?
"Come on Munster, from an Irishman watching in New York."
stonecoldsober on 606
1647: There have been a few suggestions in the build-up that Munster might be a bit undercooked coming into this match. They last played on 10 May, a defeat against Glasgow, while Toulouse have played twice since then. The French club also played three games in 10 days at the start of the month. That's what you get for being successful I suppose.
Toulouse will be without full-back Clement Poitrenaud and free-scoring winger Vincent Clerc because of injury.
1641: "Decibel level has nearly gone through the roof as Paul O'Connell leads Munster onto the field for the warm-up."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer in Cardiff
"My head says Toulouse, my (Leinster) heart says Munster to restore some Irish pride after poor World Cup and Six Nations. I think a lot depends on which Kelleher turns up, and if the real one does then its all on how young O'Leary contains him. Should be a battle royal and can't wait. I wish Leinster would give us fans days like this at some stage in the future! Go on Munster !!"
hurley_burley on 606
1625: "Jean-Baptiste Elissalde - or just JBE, as he is known to the Toulouse fans - has been going through his kicking routine out on the pitch. At the other end, Ronan O'Gara is practising some spiralling touchfinders. No worries about that wind though. The roof was closed two hours before kick-off, even if Munster fans will try to raise it again shortly."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer in Cardiff
"I want Munster to win but I think Toulouse are just going to pip them to it; I hope I'm wrong. Whatever the outcome it has been yet another cracking HC, full of tough Rugby and the occasional shock result. Magic."
mcrjfNo7 on 606
"In preparation for our trip to Cardiff, my fellow Munster fans and I had a very quiet night last night and were in bed by 3AM. It is going to be a very, very close game - I reckon Munster to sneak it 24-17."
From Stevie Carey in Cardiff, via text
"I think that Munster were very lucky to be in the final. Saracens should've scored in the first half and then again should've scored in the last few minutes. But that's rugby for you."
GrandGoalie on 606
1621: Now, I could start to give you all the background to this game but what would be the point when we have Bryn Palmer's simply excellent cut-out-and-keep guide to all things Heineken. Have a gander, it's good stuff.
Heineken Cup final lowdown
I should point my long-suffering wife in the direction of this link, last night I tried to talk to her about the game but she just glazed over and she could not conceal her boredom. This country.
"St Mary's Street, Cardiff's main thoroughfare, was a sea of red shirts hours before kick-off, the fans basking in warm sunshine, even if a blustery wind was making life difficult for some. One Toulouse supporter saw his flag sail off 100 feet into the air and proceeded to hare after it, pint of lager in hand, to cheers from the massed Munster ranks.
Anything up to 60,000 of the Red Army are expected to have made their way over to Cardiff, not all directly. Plenty have had to come via flights to Belgium and France, as well as Manchester, Birmingham and London, to cheer their heroes on."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer in Cardiff
1612: Quick bit of team news for you. Munster coach Declan Kidney, who has guided the province to all of their three previous finals, has named an unchanged team for his final game in charge before he taking over the Ireland national team.
Peter Stringer was the man-of-the-match in the Heineken Cup triumph of 2006 but this is not the time for sentiment and 24-year-old Tomas O'Leary, who wore the nine shirt for the quarter-final win over Gloucester and the semi-final victory against Saracens, is named at scrum-half.
Toulouse, Heineken Cup winners in 2005, 2003 and 1996, show two changes from their semi-final victory over London Irish at Twickenham, with Maleli Kunavore lining up alongside Yannick Jauzion in midfield and France international flanker Thierry Dusautoir replacing Yannick Nyanga.
So there we are then.
Munster: Hurley; Howlett, Mafi, Tipoki, Dowling; O'Gara, O'Leary; Horan, Flannery, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell (capt), Quinlan, Wallace, Leamy.
Replacements: Sheahan, Buckley, M O'Driscoll, Ryan, Stringer, Warwick, Earls.
Toulouse: Heymans; Medard, Kunavore, Jauzion, Donguy; Elissalde, Kelleher; Human, Servat, Perugini, Pelous (capt), Albacete, Bouilhou, Dusautoir, Sowerby.
Replacements: Basualdo, Poux, Millo-Chluski, Nyanga, Fritz, Ahotaeiloa, Courrent.
"It will be tight. I'd say anything less than a five-point gap at the end to be expected. I think it will all come down to how well the goal kickers hold their nerve. Good luck to Munster, from an Ulster fan."
NeilTNFerguson on 606
1607: My mobile has been buzzing all morning with messages from friends and family in and around Limerick. I think they are excited about this one. Apparently every house has a Munster flag and thousands of fans are again predicted to pack out Limerick's O'Connell Street - the images of which lifted the Munster players when beamed back to Cardiff in the final of 2006.
A very good friend, a Limerick taxi driver, is unsurprisingly expecting a lucrative evening which should provide him with enough money to buy the bottle of port he will owe me by the end of today.
1603: After 78 games over almost seven months, it has come down to this: a final between two of the most consistent teams in Heineken Cup history. I, for one, can't wait.
Toulouse can become the first side to secure four Heineken Cup crowns if they win today, while Munster, quarter-finalists or better since 1999, are aiming to repeat their triumph of 2006 when they defeated Biarritz.
You know the drill by now. I can't do this on my own and I need as much chat from you as possible.
So how do you think it will go? What are your predictions/hopes/bets? Are you at the ground or know someone there, or are you in Limerick, Kerry or Cork? Let us know your story.
Get involved on the 606 boards or via text on 81111, and I will use as many of your contributions as I can. Let's be having you.
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1600: Afternoon gang. Forget the nonsense in Moscow, this is the only European final people are taking about this week, right?