Champions Cup holders Leinster host French giants Toulouse in a crunch meeting of two European titans in Dublin, exclusively live on BT Sport.
Coverage of the clash between two of European rugby’s most decorated sides begins at 12.30pm (1pm kick-off) on Saturday 12 January on BT Sport 2 HD.
BT Sport subscribers can simply bookmark this match page, return at 12.30pm when our coverage starts and then click here to watch a live stream on BTSport.com.
Our live coverage of the Champions Cup kicks off at Kingsholm on Friday night when Gloucester host Munster in a pivotal Pool 2 showdown.
And our unrivalled coverage continues on Sunday, the highlight being Exeter Chiefs’ crunch clash with Castres. Watch all the action from Sandy Park from 12.30pm on BT Sport 2 and 4K UHD.
If you’re not yet a BT Sport subscriber and want to watch the best of the Champions Cup and Gallagher Premiership rugby all season long, choose from our range of packages here!
Leinster v Toulouse: Match Preview
Eighty two days after Toulouse brought Leinster’s Champions Cup unbeaten streak to a halt in Southern France, the four-time winners travel to Dublin looking to complete a historic double over the reigning champions.
In a feisty meeting in late October, the 2010 champions rallied to upset Leo Cullen’s charges courtesy of a dramatic last-gasp intercept-score from Maxime Médard.
Leinster, runaway leaders in Guinness Pro14 Conference B, are out for revenge in what promises to be a thrilling encounter in the Irish capital.
A raucous atmosphere awaits Ugo Mola and his resurgent Toulouse at a sold-out RDS Arena, but they will be boosted by the news that their opponents are without Johnny Sexton ahead of the pivotal clash.
The World Player of the Year and talismanic captain will not be risked after failing to recover from a calf injury.
23-year-old Ross Byrne looks set to deputise for the Ireland international who has reportedly been carrying the minor injury for weeks, in what is a colossal blow for the province.
The French visitors are unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions, winning 11, and have rediscovered the joie de vivre that saw them reign supreme under the enigmatic Guy Novès.
Speaking on Rugby Tonight, BT Sport pundit Ben Kay urged the visitors not to stray from their free-flowing philosophy at the RDS.
“[Toulouse’s offloading game] has been outstanding. They don’t play like this throughout the game, but they can light the touch paper.
“They flood the channels, which means no matter how good your scramble defence is, they’ll find a soft edge, they’ll find somewhere where it’s not marked and they have the handling ability to do it.
“They are so exciting. If they’re going to have any chance this weekend, they’re going to have to play that style of rugby, what they’re comfortable at and take the game away from being a structured game against Leinster.”
All Black Jerome Kaino, who has made 83 appearances for New Zealand, has proved instrumental in Toulouse’s resurgence and looks set to line up against Leinster after missing the first meeting between the two sides through suspension.
Speaking to BT Sport’s Martin Bayfield, Kaino issued a stark warning to this weekend’s opponents
“It’ll be great for our team to get that confidence, to go through the pool of death undefeated”, he said.
“Also, it sends a good message out to the competition that we’re serious about putting Toulouse back to where it used to be and where it belongs.”
Toulouse, who didn’t qualify for the Champions Cup last season, are only two points clear of Leinster with two fixtures to play despite their victory at the Stade Ernest Wallon, so there’s still all to play for in the hunt for a home quarter-final tie.
In a tantalising meeting between two sides steeped in European heritage, both lauded for their attacking intent, the stakes couldn’t be higher – and the only place to watch all of the action is BT Sport!
Leinster v Toulouse: Team news
Leinster: Jordan Larmour; Adam Byrne, Garry Ringrose, Rory O'Loughlin, Dave Kearney; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong; Scott Fardy, James Ryan; Rhys Ruddock (c), Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.
Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Andrew Porter, Ross Molony, Max Deegan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Noel Reid, Conor O'Brien.
Toulouse: Maxime Medard; Cheslin Kolbe, Sofiane Guitoune, Romain Ntamack, Yoann Huget; Thomas Ramos, Antoine Dupont; Clément Castets, Julien Marchand (c), Charlie Faumuina; Rory Arnold, Joe Tekori; Francois Cros, Rynhardt Elstadt, Jerome Kaino.
Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Cyril Baille, Dorian Aldegheri, Piula Faasalele, Louis Madaule, Alban Placines, Sébastien Bezy, Zack Holmes.
Leinster v Toulouse: The coaches
Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster: “We're on 15 [points] now and Toulouse are on 17 but that's a dangerous mind-set to think that it's OK if you lose.
“It isn't, because if you win you have control, but it's still not the end point because you've still got to go to Wasps and win away from home.
“Playing at home in the RDS in front of a full house it is certainly the premier game in Europe this week given the quality of the two teams involved.
“They're as good a team, in terms of preparation, that I've coached against.
“If you look at the top tries of the season, I reckon Toulouse would have the top five at the moment – in terms of their running and ability to break and play unstructured rugby.
“We pride ourselves in our ability to play unstructured rugby but they're at a different level. They're outstanding.
“So we need to be controlled and composed but also not be afraid to fire some shots of our own as well.
“It should be a fantastic game – two champions have won the competition four times each and both at the top of their respective domestic competitions.
“They've not lost since they played us so it's a big game.”
Toulouse coach Ugo Mola: To follow...
Leinster v Toulouse: Head-to-head
Toulouse won the reverse fixture in this season's Champions Cup in an engrossing encounter at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. The previous four meetings saw Leinster and Toulouse win two apiece.
|21/10/18||Champions Cup||Toulouse 28-27 Leinster|
|30/04/11||Heineken Cup||Leinster 32-23 Toulouse|
|01/05/10||Heineken Cup||Toulouse 26-16 Leinster|
|12/01/08||Heineken Cup||Leinster 20-13 Toulouse|
|18/11/07||Heineken Cup||Toulouse 33-6 Leinster|
Leinster v Toulouse: Betting odds
All odds correct at the time of writing, courtesy of Bet365.