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French reign victorious over Leinster, Munster and Connacht

Toulouse beat Leinster 26-16 and Biarritz beat Munster 18-7 in the semi finals of the Heineken Cup while Connacht were knocked out of the Amlin Challenge Cup by Toulon, losing at home 19-12.

Both Leinster and Munster faced an uphill battle having to travel to tough French away opposition, Leinster being without Jonathon Sexton and Luke Fitzgerald – the latter has been out of action for several months with a knee injury.

Leinster trailed at half time, having been 9-0 down in the first half, they managed to battle back to 9-9 after Rob Kearney’s long-range kick levelled it just after half time.

But the match was effectively ended after two quick-fire tries from Toulouse, scored by Yannick Jauzion and David Skrela, were both converted in the 56th and 59th minute.

Jamie Heaslip continued his impressive scoring form to give Leinster a lifeline with a try five minutes later which was impressively converted by Shaun Berne to make it 23-16.

Toulouse were out of sight, however, and they confirmed their place in the Heineken Cup final in the Stade de France with a penalty from Skrela in the 70th minute to create a 10 point gap.

The game ended with no more scores and Skrela’s kicking capped off a disappointing afternoon for Leinster as their spell as European rugby champions came to a close.

Munster’s match against Biarritz was a tighter affair and after most of the first half remaining scoreless, Keith Earls finished a try created by a burst of pace from Donncha O’Callaghan.

Ronan O’Gara converted and Munster went into the break 7-3 up only for their game to fall apart in the second half.

Yachvili, who already scored a penalty in the first half, was the difference in the second half after five successful penalties beat Munster comprehensively.

Connacht suffered at the boot of Jonny Wilkinson who kicked four penalties and converted Toutai Kefu’s try in injury time of the first half.

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