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Toulouse 38-26 Harlequins: Jack Walker’s late sin-binning proves essential as English rugby’s nice entertainers are minimize down within the Crimson Kingdom


Dancing alongside to upbeat trance music, Toulouse’s fanatical assist stood 10 deep to welcome Antoine Dupont and Co to this European semi-final.

As they did so, they unfurled a large banner on which was written the slogan ‘Crimson Kingdom’. The house followers booed the arrival of Harlequins stars Joe Marler and Marcus Smith.

Marler embraced the abuse, breaking right into a trademark grin and holding his hand to his ear. House heroes Dupont, Romain Ntamack and Englishman Jack Willis lapped up the adulation.

Welcome to Toulouse’s yard. Their kingdom. This match befell on the metropolis’s soccer floor relatively than the same old Stade Ernest-Wallon, however the identical mantra applies. Toulouse refuse to countenance shedding at house. And so it was as soon as once more.

Harlequins gave it every part. And extra. As they launched a shocking second-half fightback within the house of rugby’s equal of Actual Madrid’s Galacticos, their scrum coach Adam Jones pleaded for cool heads.

Jack Walker's late sin-binning proved crucial as Harlequins were beaten by Toulouse

Jack Walker’s late sin-binning proved essential as Harlequins had been crushed by Toulouse

Walker was shown a yellow card after he made contact with head of Antoine Dupont

Walker was proven a yellow card after he made contact with head of Antoine Dupont

English rugby’s nice entertainers ignored him, embracing the chaos of a exceptional event.

It was practically sufficient for what would have been the best win of their historical past. Ultimately, Jack Walker’s late sin-binning proved essential.

Walker made contact with the top of Dupont. The house crowd known as for blood. Walker noticed yellow not crimson, however the color of the cardboard was immaterial because it stemmed Quins’ momentum simply when it was at its peak. The impression was terminal.

First-half breakdown issues and line-out points had been additionally pricey, and Toulouse march on to face Leinster in Tottenham within the closing on Could 25. ‘The injury was carried out within the first half,’ mentioned Quins head coach Danny Wilson. ‘Breakdown turnovers towards one of the best aspect on this planet result in tries.

‘We’ll look again on this recreation and be pissed off however I’m happy with the boys for profitable the second half. The issue was the counter-ruck within the first half. We switched off in that space. We had been conscious that was coming.’

Harlequins captain Stephan Lewies struck an analogous notice: ‘For those who give Toulouse 28 factors on a platter it’s going to be powerful. For those who take away our errors, it’s what might have been.’

Toulouse began at breakneck velocity. Tempo, energy, panache. It was all on present and crimson shirts had been all over the place. House wing Matthis Lebel opened the scoring from a botched Quins line-out.

Quins had crossed through Marcus Smith and Will Evans but trailed by 19 points at the break

Quins had crossed via Marcus Smith and Will Evans however trailed by 19 factors on the break 

After wins at Racing 92 and Bordeaux, Harlequins had been concentrating on a 3rd French away scalp of the season. However though they scored first-half tries via Smith and Will Evans, they had been too usually blitzed on the contact space and counter-rucked off the ball.

Toulouse hooker Peato Mauvaka was excellent, scoring as soon as. Thibaud Flament additionally pounced on a Quins error and the magnificent Dupont crossed twice, as he at all times appears to do.

The hosts’ lead was 31-12 on the break, however quickly it regarded just like the tables may very well be turned.

Cadan Murley completed acrobatically within the nook after which Tyrone Inexperienced ran a beautiful line to cross. Smith’s boot made it 31-26.

Swiftly it was Harlequins who had been rampant. That they had tidied up their breakdown points and stole a few Toulouse possessions, however then got here Walker’s mistimed lunge at Dupont.

‘After they decelerate replays endlessly they will result in refereeing choices,’ mentioned Wilson. ‘It damage us after we had momentum and had been proper within the recreation.’

All the way down to 14 and behind on the scoreboard with time working out, Walker’s card instantly modified the sport’s complexion.

When he was despatched to the sin-bin, Toulouse had not scored within the second half. With a person benefit, they quickly put that proper.

Juan Cruz Mallia scored in the corner late on to book a place in the Champions Cup final

Juan Cruz Mallia scored within the nook late on to guide a spot within the Champions Cup closing

Juan Cruz Mallia dived over within the nook to finish dialogue over the ultimate outcome. There was nonetheless time for Marler to have a unnecessary dust-up with Tomas Ramos, which price Quins a penalty.

Dupont mentioned: ‘At half time we mentioned we wouldn’t decrease our depth as a result of we all know Harlequins by no means surrender.

‘However we didn’t get out of our half very nicely and after they have momentum, they’re exhausting to cease.

‘Now we have now an opportunity to lift the trophy. We’ll be towards a well-known opponent who will need it as a lot as us, having misplaced within the final two finals.’

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