European Champions Cup: Medard scores twice as Toulouse beat Leinster 28-27
|Heineken Champions Cup|
|Toulouse (21) 28|
|Tries: Medard 2, Guitoune Cons: Ramos 2 Pens: Ramos 3|
|Leinster (13) 27|
|Tries: O'Brien, Ryan, Cronin Cons: Sexton 3 Pens: Sexton 2|
Three-try Toulouse upset Leinster 28-27 in a feisty battle between the two four-time European champions at Stade Ernest Wallon.
Maxime Medard scored twice for Toulouse while Sofiane Guitoune also crossed to send the French side top of Pool One.
Sean O'Brien, James Ryan and Sean Cronin scored for Leinster, who led by six points with 20 minutes remaining.
Medard's second try, from an intercept, clinched a dramatic win as the holders had to settle for a losing bonus point.
Leinster paid the price for an uncharacteristically slow start as they trailed their hosts 14-0 after an explosive 20 minutes with Guitoune's try giving Toulouse a deserved 21-13 half-time lead.
The Irish side appeared to have taken control of the game during a superb third quarter performance when Ryan and Cronin both scored but Medard finished-off a sweeping counter-attack in the 69th minute to claim his second try and Toulouse held firm to clinch a narrow victory.
The defeat brought Leinster's 10-match winning streak in Europe to an end and the champions will now switch their focus to the Pro14 before their double header against Bath in December while Toulouse will take on Wasps in rounds three and four.
Toulouse swarm off-colour Leinster
This was the first meeting between the two sides since Leinster had equalled Toulouse's record haul of four European titles and the French side were determined to lay down a marker in front of their home fans during the opening exchanges.
The hosts made a blistering start against an error-strewn Leinster, who looked a completely different side from the team that thrashed Wasps in the opening round.
Full-back Thomas Ramos kicked his side into an early lead with a pair of straight-forward penalties as Leinster struggled to match the furious tempo set by by their hosts.
The task facing the defending champions became even greater after just 12 minutes when Toulouse punished a sloppy Leinster pass in midfield with captain Julien Marchand charging up to the five metre line before Sebastian Bezy flung a pass out to the left wing and Medard stepped around Joe Tomane to score.
The introduction of O'Brien for Josh van der Flier for a Head Injury Assessment helped turn the tide for Leinster, who worked their way back into the game with a pair of Johnny Sexton penalties before a moment of brilliance by Jack Conan served up their opening try.
The dynamic number eight picked a clever line against the grain and timed his pass to the supporting O'Brien to perfection to allow the flanker to saunter over.
It was Toulouse who had the final say of the opening half as Selevasio Tolofua's impressive footwork drew a missed tackle from O'Brien before Guitoune brilliantly stepped around Larmour to give his side an eight-point half-time advantage.
|Champions Cup Pool One|
Medard strikes late
A flying leap by Tomane to claim the second-half restart set the tone for Leinster, who were celebrating their second try in the 46th minute when Ryan managed to muscle his way over the line to end a sustained assault of the Toulouse line.
At the other end, James Lowe managed to scramble back to prevent Chelsin Kolbe from scoring but Leinster were quickly back on the offensive with Robbie Henshaw's clever grubber kick into the corner.
From the lineout, Leinster again laid siege to the Toulouse line and were eventually rewarded when Cronin took Sexton's inside pass to score under the posts.
The Irish side went in search of a bonus-point score but paid the price for their ambition as Louis Madaule intercepted a pass in his own 22 and charged into the Leinster half before Toulouse cleverly worked the ball to Medard to score in the left corner with Ramos converting from the touchline to snatch a well-deserved win.
Leinster 'lacked control'
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen on BT Sport: "We probably lacked a little bit of control in the first 20 minutes of the game, which allowed Toulouse to build that 14-0 lead but fighting back from 14 points down is always good."
"It's a tough place to come here, Toulouse are a very good team who are on the rise. We're not the ones being chased for a change, we'll have to do the chasing instead."
Toulouse: T Ramos; C Kolbe, S Guitoune, R Ntamack, M Medard; Z Holmes, S Bezy; C Castets, J Marchand (capt), C Faumuina; F Verhaeghe, J Tekori; R Elstadt, A Placines, S Tolofua.
Replacements: L Ghiraldini, D Faimafiliotama'ita'i Ainuu, M Van Dyk, P Gayraud, L Madaule, Y Huget, A Dupont, A Bonneval.
Leinster: J Larmour; J Tomane, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J Lowe; J Sexton (capt), L McGrath; C Healy, S Cronin, T Furlong; D Toner, James Ryan; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan.
Replacements: James Tracy, J McGrath, A Porter, S Fardy, S O'Brien, N McCarthy, R Byrne, R O'Loughlin.
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