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Sport

Toulouse crush Ulster 36-8 to reach Champions Cup semis

(Reuters) - Toulouse winger Cheslin Kolbe scored two first-half tries as the dominant French Top14 side eased past Ireland’s Ulster 36-8 at Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday to reach the European Champions Cup semi-finals.

The last meeting between the sides in the knockout stage was in Belfast during the 1998-99 campaign, when Ulster sealed a 15-13 quarter-final win en route to the title, but Toulouse took charge early on Sunday and never lost their grip on the match.

South African Kolbe went over the line early to put the hosts in front before Thomas Ramos extended their lead to 8-0 with a penalty.

John Cooney got Ulster off the mark with a penalty but Kolbe scored another try which Ramos converted to put Toulouse 15-3 up at halftime.

Further tries from Antoine Dupont, Pita Ahki and Ramos after the break put four-times champions Toulouse out of sight, with Cooney’s try giving Pro14 side Ulster a late consolation.

In the last-four stage next Saturday, Toulouse face Exeter Chiefs who beat Premiership rivals Northampton Saints 38-15 at Sandy Park, in what was the first meeting between the teams in the Champions Cup.

Northampton went in front through a Dan Biggar penalty but Exeter responded strongly and took control of the contest as Jacques Vermeulen scored two tries, while Jack Maunder, Jack Nowell and Jonny Hill all crossed the line once.

Defending champions Saracens face Racing 92 in the other semi-final.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge

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