Toulouse and Leinster will meet in the final

Champions Cup semi-finals we close affairs but we now know that Leinster will play Toulouse in the final.

Two English clubs missed out on a spot in the final but they put in good performances. Both clubs came up just short but Northampton Saints will be kicking themselves for not getting a handle on the first half, eventually losing 20-17 to Leinster.

Harlequins’ game against Toulouse was a scoring frenzy. The London side coming off 36-28 losers.

Here are five things we learned from the semi-finals

James Lowe is deadly

This may be something we already knew but the semi-final underpinned the great season the wing is having. In Leinster’s match against Northampton Lowe scored a hat-trick before 50 minutes, which ended up giving the club enough of a point difference to close out the game.

If Lowe is given an inch of space, he will take a mile. He will definitely have to be a marked man in the final.

Lowe said post-match: “I’m looking forward to a pint, I’m not going to lie. We worked bloody hard to get ourselves into the driving seat and hopefully we’ll do better in the final than we have done in the last couple of years.”

Leinster lost the last two finals to French club La Rochelle.

Leinster are not invincible

Leinster started their semi-final really strong with two quick fire tries. However, in the second half they let Northampton back into the game. If the English side could have put together one final attack it would be them heading into the final.

The Irish side cannot afford to slip up in the final as Clermont showed against Harlequins, they will mop up any mistake and turn it into points. Lowe gave an honest assessment of the second half post-match.

“Something almost horrific happened,” he told TNT Sports. “We were able to build a score but we know Northampton are an amazing attacking side and we gave them too many opportunities. I don’t think we kicked well, me personally anyway, and we let their boys run riot.”

Kinghorn brutal injury

Blair Kinghorn posted the injury he sustained on social media. The full back is into the final with Toulouse but he also takes a broken nose with him.

The break is quite severe and he has taken some jokes from teammates. His Scottish teammate Adam Hastings posted a screenshot from a FaceTime they shared where Hastings is laughing at him. He does seem to have put it back in place but the injury just shows how dangerous the game can be.

Dupont pulls the strings

Antoine Dupont may have taken a step back from the 15s international game to focus on sevens but he is still the best player in the world. He pulled the strings in Toulouse’s win over Harlequins and his partnership with Romain Ntamack is as fluid as ever.

It is in games like these that get people wondering if Ntamack was not injured for the Rugby World Cup, would they have gone all the way? The attacks from Toulouse are so slick and fast as their connections are so bedded in. The French outfit will take some stopping in the final.

Should semi-finals be home games?

The semi-finals this year were played in neutral venues but with the higher tanked team having an advantage. This saw Leinster host Northampton at Croke Park and Toulouse play Harlequins at the city’s football ground. Both home sides effectively had a home game.

Both of the hosts progressed, of course there is no guarantee had the English clubs hosted that they would have won. However, how the fixture venues turned out has made Champions Cup organisers think about hosting future semi-finals in one city. Portuguese cities, like Lisbon, are among those being floated.

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