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In Pics: Toulouse 35 Leinster 41 (1)

In Pics: Toulouse 35 Leinster 41 (1)

Click here for photos from Leinster’s memorable win over champions Toulouse in Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Pictured above: Leinster supporters unfurl a giant jersey flag before their historic win over Toulouse. The chant “Allez les Bleus” might not fit so well against Llanelli at Lansdowne Road on Good Friday, but Leinster Rugby Chief Executive Mick Dawson wants as many fans as possible to attend the intervening games before the Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster on April 23.

Dawson said: “I would encourage all of the fans to show your support in the intervening two weeks. We face the Borders in the Celtic League at Netherdale on Friday night, and will the face Llanelli Scarlets at Lansdowne Road the following Good Friday.

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“This will be the last time that the Leinster sporting public will have the chance to see the team play before the semi-final so hopefully the loyal support, which has given the team such a lift all season, will continue.”

Leinster coach Michael Cheika right in the thick of things as his players warm up before kick-off at the Stadium Municipal. The Australian said afterwards: “This is a pretty big event for us as a team. Personally, I’m very proud of the players because they’ve worked hard.

“In the build up to the match we spoke about trying to get the performance on the day. We had a chequered preparation because many of the guys were coming back from the Six Nations. We knew that was the case, but I’m very proud of the way they took the extra steps to get themselves ready for this match.

“They’ve had some adverse moments when they’ve dipped in form and I’ve been uptight with them, but they put in a lot of smart preparation this week.”

Leinster captain Brian O’Driscoll runs out with team mascot for the day Conor Mulcahy (7) from Malahide. Conor travelled over to Toulouse with his father Donal and two older brothers Sean (12) and Patrick (10).

Conor plays rugby for Malahide RFC’s Under-7 team. Last weekend was his first away trip for a Leinster game, and he was delighted to have met his favourite player O’Driscoll.

Brian O’Driscoll dots down Leinster’s first of four tries to set them on the right road at the Stadium Municipal. The score was O’Driscoll’s fourth try in three Heineken Cup games – it’s the most the Dubliner has ever scored in a European season. He bagged three tries in the 2001/02, 2002/03 and 2004/05 seasons.

Out-half Felipe Contepomi launching over one of his kicks at goal on the way to a 21-point performance. The Argentinian star landed three conversions and five penalties in a man-of-the-match performance – strengthening his position as this season’s Heineken Cup top scorer with 125 points in seven outings.

Contepomi was a key figure in O’Driscoll’s early try and he launched the platform for Denis Hickie’s length-of-the-field effort in the second half, flipping a pass out to his centres deep in Leinster’s 22. The 28-year-old had a strong belief that Leinster could shock Toulouse, saying: “Coming from Argentina, you must believe in performance.

“We’re not better than France. We’re not even near them, but the last four games we’ve beaten them. How can you explain that? Because on the day we played better than them. No more. Before the game they were better than us and after the game they were better – but for those 80 minutes, anything can happen.”

The merry band of Leinster fans get behind their team.

Leinster flanker Keith Gleeson tries to make the hard yards under pressure from Toulouse’s Finau Maka and Frederic Michalak. Cheika said of Gleeson’s excellent display: “He’s hunting. He’s a hungry player and he’s enjoying his football.

“I thought the whole back row complemented each other very well and when Eric Miller came on, he made a massive contribution. But Gleeson, particularly in defence, managed our defensive line excellently. He was all over the ball. We spoke about quality players coming to the fore in big games and that’s what they did.”

**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**