Toulouse win Champions Cup after remarkable extra-time victory over Leinster

Toulouse's French wing Matthis Lebel dives over the line to score
-Credit: (Image: AFP or licensors)

Toulouse have been crowned European champions for a sixth time as they edged past Leinster 31-22 after extra-time in a remarkable final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

This was a sensational final between two heavyweights in north London as Leinster threw everything at the French giants only to be undone by a remarkable defensive effort and the brilliance of France great Antoine Dupont. Leinster have now lost three Champions Cup finals in a row but Toulouse were deserved winners.

Toulouse came out of the blocks like a house on fire and very nearly opened the scoring after just two minutes with a lovely offload from Emmanuel Meafou releasing Antoine Dupont who hacked the ball downfield. With the ball nearing the touchline Dupont threw it in field for Juan Cruz Mallia to touch down, but the try was disallowed due to the France scrum-half's foot brushing the touchline.

READ MORE: Nigel Walker attacks are unfair but WRU must show courage

The French champions held a slender 9-6 lead at the interval with three penalties from Scotland star Blair Kinghorn, while Ross Byrne was responsible for Leinster's points. Leinster threw the kitchen sink at Toulouse in the early stages of the second-half but a phenomenal defensive effort from the French club kept them at bay.

Byrne and Kinghorn swapped penalties before a tremendous penalty from Thomas Ramos edged Toulouse into the lead. Toulouse thought they'd scored when a well-timed cross-kick from Romain Ntamack got taken by Matthis Lebel who touched down at the corner, but the try was ruled out by the TMO due to the wings foot scrapping the touchline.

As the game neared 80 minutes, with the scores level at 15-15, Leinster missed a golden opportunity to win it but Ciarán Frawley's drop goal attempt blew just wide.

Leinster couldn't have asked for a worse start to extra time as they were reduced to 14 men when James Lowe got sent to the sin bin for an intentional knock on, but the Irish province were left off the hook when Ramos missed the penalty. But Toulouse finally broke the deadlock with some lovely handling from Ntamack, Ramos and Pita Ahki releasing Lebel down the touchline who exposed Lowe's absence to score the first try of the game in extra time.

Listen to the latest episode of the Welsh Rugby podcast

Ramos added the extras and added a further penalty to give the French giants what seemed like an unassailable 10-point lead. But the drama wasn't over yet as Toulouse lock Richie Arnold received a red card for making direct contact to an opponent's head.

Leinster gave themselves hope when Josh van der Flier powered over at the end of the first-half of extra time, with Ciarán Frawley's conversion leaving Toulouse with a 25-22 lead. But Toulouse took control after the break with three penalties from Ramos breaking Leinster hearts.