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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 April, 2003, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Toulouse edge out Munster
Munster hooker Frankie Sheahan
Munster's Frankie Sheahan is tackled by Frederic Michalak
Toulouse 13-12 Munster

Munster's roller-coaster ride through Europe finally came to an end at the Stade de Toulouse on Saturday.

But it took a late Frederic Michalak try and conversion by replacement fly-half Jean Baptiste Elissalde to take Toulouse into the Heineken Cup final.

Munster had held the lead until the 74th minute with two dropped goals and a brace of penalties by the excellent Ronan O'Gara.

But Toulouse had enough in reserve to reach their first European final since they lifted the inaugural title back in 1996.

Torrential rain just before kick-off put paid to any notions of a free-flowing game and the first 10 minutes saw both packs attempting to exert their influence.

Following a series of drives to set up position, O'Gara slotted a drop goal in the 14th minute.

He doubled the score with a 30-metre penalty three minutes later after a Toulouse forward dived in at the side of a ruck.

Toulouse's first chance of points passed by on the half-hour when Yann Delaigue pushed a penalty past the upright.

They only once threatened Munster's line in the opening half when Delaigue cut through and a neat switch sent Xavier Garbajosa through, only to see his pass to prop Patrice Collazo go to ground.

Delaigue, though, had the final say of an uneventful opening period when he converted an angled penalty in injury-time.

MATCH DETAILS
Toulouse
Try: Michalak
Con: Elissalde
Pen: Delaigue, Elissalde
Munster
Pens: O'Gara 2
Dg: O'Gara 2
Once again it was Munster who started the more confident side on the resumption, and the forwards did the business to allow O'Gara to kick his second drop goal.

But Toulouse came back into the game, with number eight Christian Labit the prime mover with some great charges.

Munster skipper Jim Williams had to look sharp in touching down a kick through by Michalak.

The pressure finally paid off for the French team when Elissalde, who had just come on for Delaigue, slotted a penalty in the 57th minute.

Munster came back and O'Gara again replied in kind with a sweet strike from 35 metres to restore the six-point gap.

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The Irish side had a let off in the 65th minute when Garbajosa dropped the ball over the line after being tackled by Peter Stringer.

But Toulouse kept charging, and Munster's line was finally breached in the 74th minute when Michalak scrambled over wide on the left and Elissalde converted to give his side the lead.

A frantic final 10 minutes saw two drop goal attempts by O'Gara inch past the uprights as Toulouse took the honours.


Toulouse: C Poîtrenaud; E Ntamack, Y Jauzion, X Garbajosa, V Clerc; Y Delaigue, F Michalak; P Collazo, Y Bru, J-B Poux, D Gérard, F Pelous, J Bouilhou, T Brennan, C Labit.

Munster: J Staunton; J Kelly, M Mullins, R Henderson, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, J Williams, A Quinlan, A Foley.

Referee: C White (England)




SEE ALSO
Ntamack knows what to expect
23 Apr 03  |  European Club
Williams wants more of the same
23 Apr 03  |  European Club
Corrigan fit for semi-final
15 Apr 03  |  European Club

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