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Sexton shines on return to action

Johnny Sexton, Ireland
  • Ireland fly-half wins man of the match in first game since Guinness Six Nations
  • Leinster too strong for Toulouse with Luke McGrath scoring one of their three tries
  • Garry Ringrose impressed by the accuracy of his side

Johnny Sexton made an impressive return to action with a man-of-the-match display as he led Leinster back to the Champions Cup final for the second successive season.

The fly-half, who helped Ireland to third in the Guinness Six Nations, had not played since the clash against Wales in Cardiff in March when Warren Gatland’s side claimed the Grand Slam.=

However in the sunshine in Dublin, he pulled the strings as Leinster got the better of Toulouse 30-12, scoring three tries including one for Ireland scrum-half Luke McGrath.

Sexton finished with 12 points from the kicking tee, teammate Ross Byrne adding another late on, as the Irish side booked a place in the final against Saracens.

Barring one stray kick from hand, it was a near faultless display from Sexton for the 66 minutes he played.

Garry Ringrose also impressed in the midfield, helping shut down the free-scoring Toulouse attack, and the centre was thrilled at the way his team rose to the big occasion.

He said: “We knew it was going to be incredibly tough against a quality Toulouse side that we’ve had trouble with in the group. It was the same today, it was insanely challenging across the pitch and in every area. We’re delighted to be able to get past them.

“In big games like that, they fall on such fine margins. The scoreline probably flatters us a little bit with how tough that was and how hard we had to work for it.”

Leinster will now face Saracens in the final as they look to retain the title they won last year in Bilbao and win a fifth European title, moving one clear of Toulouse as the most successful team in the competition’s history.