Toulouse win thriller for right to face Leinster

Biarritz 20 Toulouse 27

Biarritz 20 Toulouse 27

Extra-time experts Toulouse are the extra-time experts and they are through to the Heineken Cup semi-finals after putting their fans through the wringer at Estadio Anoeta in a strictly French affair with Biarritz.

They will now take on Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on April 30 thanks to replacement Yannick Nyanga’s last-gasp winner with just a minute of extra-time left to play.

The four-times European champions had seemed to be cruising to a last four place after first-half tries from Cedric Heymans and Maxi Medard.

But Biarritz fought-back thanks to the boot of Dimitri Yachvili. And in a dramatic climax Ilikena Bolakoro levelled matters at 17-17 at the end of 80 minutes.

Ace marksman Dimitri Yachvili failed with the conversion which would have knocked the defending champions out at the death.

But Nyanga pounced in the 99th minute to send the Toulouse into the semi-finals.

It was the fourth time they have been involved in a Heineken Cup extra-time contest, winning the 1996 and 2005 finals in the additional 20-minute period but losing the 1998 semi-final against Brive on a 2-1 try count.

And in a rerun of last season’s final, won 21-19 by Guy Noves’ team, Toulouse once again inflicted heartbreak on their French rivals.

Toulouse opened the scoring in the 12th minute after a scintillating counter-attack. Vincent Clerc stepped inside the flat home defence and linked with Heymans. The full-back then stepped inside former England international Iain Balshaw and powered through Takudzwa Ngwenya to score.

David Skrela slotted the penalty but soon left the field for treatment following a heavy collision with Erik Lund.

Toulouse doubled their lead in the 26th minute with a second try. From defending on their own try line, Toulouse cleared their lines, stole possession and scored within a matter of minutes.

Jean-Marc Doussain performed a pinpoint cross-kick to Medard to touch down. With Skrela receiving treatment on the touchline, Nicolas Bezy added the simple conversion.

A heavily bandaged Skrela nudged the visitors further in front with a penalty on 36 minutes to bring the score to 17-0 at the interval.

However, Toulouse lost their sense of urgency. They seemed content to contain rather than try and put the game out of sight – and paid the penalty.

The Biarritz fightback was built on the boot of Yachvili, who slotted four penalties to eat into Toulouse’s advantage.

With just moments of normal time remaining Yachvili charged down Skrela’s clearance and Bolakoro pounced to force an extra 20 minutes of action.

Skrela and Yachvili traded penalties to make it 20-20, as it stood Toulouse would have won due to their 2-1 try-count advantage.

But Nyanga put any doubts to bed, charging down Yachvili’s kick and collecting to take the champions through.

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