How the Munster players rated

Charlie Mulqueen rates the Munster men's performance on the day.

How the Munster players rated

MUNSTER

FELIX JONES: Still not at his best, although his defence stepped up to the mark big time and it only needs for the Dubliner to recapture his attacking edge to make him an invaluable member of the squad. 6

KEITH EARLS: Apart from taking his early try with typical aplomb, Earls did everything that came his way outstandingly well. Invariably takes the right option while his speed and instincts make him a major threat to any opposition. 8

CASEY LAULALA: An ill-advised and poorly executed reverse pass on the stroke of half0time that went askew could have proved costly but this was one of the Kiwi’s better recent games. 6

JAMES DOWNEY: Not the spectacular type or one to break the opposition gain line as much as the Red Army would like but no doubting his commitment and he earned his recall. 6

SIMON ZEBO: Made the all-important first try with a superb overhead, 30m pass and combined with James Coughlan to prevent a Yoann Huget try with a superb tackle, and then crashed through two tackles to score one of his own. Were you watching, Joe Schmidt? 8

IAN KEATLEY: Handled and passed flawlessly, kicked his goals when they mattered and another who read the game perfectly. Enhanced his reputation. 8

CONOR MURRAY: Impressed Rob Penney to such an extent that the coach stated he was now approaching world-class. His overall performance reflected the coach’s admiration. 8

DAVID KILCOYNE: The second-half sin binning may well have cost “Killer” man of the match award and worryingly it was his second yellow card in eight days. But the UL Bohs man was a mighty force, whether performing his primary duties or carrying ball. Hopefully Joe Schmidt took due note. 8

DAMIEN VARLEY: The hooker typifies the defiant, never-say-die attitude of the current Munster squad. He was another forward to carry a lot of ball while always doing his stuff at the coal face. His darts, too, were on target. 7

BJ BOTHA: The former Springbok remains central to the success of this Munster team. He enjoyed his battle at scrum time with fellow South African Gurthro Steenkamp, perfectly understandable given he held a definite edge. 7

PAUL O’CONNELL: Rounded off yet another outstanding performance with his 10th Heineken Cup try that pleased him no end. Would have been my choice as man of the match for his lineout play, ball carrying in the loose, graft at close quarters and leadership after the exit of Peter O’Mahony. 8

DAVE FOLEY: Rob Penney’s juggling of his forces throughout the season has paid off in spades in the case of the Tipperary man who won’t be easily displaced. Can emerge in the near future to fill the boots of O’Connell and Donncha O’Callaghan. 7

PETER O’MAHONY: While elated to see his side qualify for yet another Heineken Cup semi-final, the skipper is understandably down in the dumps having sustained a shoulder injury that, according to Rob Penney, “does not look good”. 5

TOMMY O’DONNELL: Carried a lot of ball and put in his usual high number of tackles without quite regaining the form of which he is capable. 6

JAMES COUGHLAN: Looked to be giving stones in weight to the man mountains in the Toulouse back-row but managed to outplay each of them, even the great Louis Picamoles. His corner flag tackle on Huget with Zebo one of many highlights. 8

Replacements

CJ STANDER: Birthday boy (24) was probably flattered by the man of the match call but if the need arises, would make an invaluable replacement for Peter O’Mahony. Described by O’Connell as just the kind of foreign player that Munster want in their ranks. 8

JOHN RYAN: Played his part nobly in two runs on the pitch. 6

DONNCHA O’CALLAGHAN: Munster are fortunate to have this great warrior available to lend his special talents and experience to the cause. 5

DUNCAN CASEY: Enjoyed his 25 minutes as replacement hooker in a spell when Munster were dominant. 5

JJ Hanrahan and Gerhard van den Heever: not on long enough to be rated.

ROB PENNEY: Munster played the 15-man game the coach has been advocating. The Kiwi is entitled to a lot of credit for the way the side picked things up after a poor display against Leinster. 8

TOULOUSE

M Medard (5), Y Huget (6), F Fritz (5),G Fickou (5), H Gear (7), L McAllister (5), J Vermaak (4), G Steenkamp (4), C Tolofua (4), Y Montes (4), Y Maestri (5), P Albacete (5), Y Camara (5), Joe Tekori (6), L Picamoles (6). Replacements: J Bregvadze, C Baille, S Ferreira, R Millo-Chlusky, G Galan, JM Doussain, L Beauxis, C Poitrenaud — all used but to little effect. Guy Noves (4).

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