Blair Kinghorn helps Toulouse into Investec Champions Cup quarter-finals as dates set for last-eight ties

The Scotland stand-off shrugged off early misses to kick three conversions in all-French clash

Scotland full-back Blair Kinghorn helped Toulouse set up a quarter-final clash against Exeter in the Investec Champions Cup thanks to a 31-7 demolition of French rivals Racing 92.

First-half scores from Peato Mauvaka and Matthis Lebel put the hosts 10-0 ahead at the break in the last-16 tie at Stade Ernest-Wallon. Paul Costes and Pita Ahki crossed to give Toulouse complete control before Racing finally got on the scoresheet six minutes from time through Eddy Ben Arous’ consolation try, which was converted by Tristan Tedder. Alexandre Roumat touched down at the death to complete the rout, with Kinghorn landing his final three conversion attempts after missing the first two and a penalty.

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Earlier in the day, Northampton stormed into the quarter-finals after two tries by George Hendy broke Munster’s resistance in a 24-14 victory at Franklin’s Gardens. Hendy, Saints’ 21-year-old replacement wing, crossed twice in the final quarter of a gripping round-of-16 encounter fought out by the Gallagher Premiership’s leaders and current holders of the United Rugby Championship crown.

Blair Kinghorn has a quarter-final to look forward to with Toulouse.Blair Kinghorn has a quarter-final to look forward to with Toulouse.
Blair Kinghorn has a quarter-final to look forward to with Toulouse.

Northampton edged their humdinger of a group clash in January and this rematch of the 2000 final was every bit as dramatic despite the swirling winds that made kicking and patrolling the backfield tricky. Saints missed injured full-back George Furbank, one of their most effective attacking weapons this season, while another influential England star Alex Mitchell was limited to a supporting role off the bench. Yet they still produced the match’s decisive moment when replacement back Hendy finished a superb try made possible by Fin Smith’s decision making, before England Under-20 international Hendy showed strength to grab his second in the 73rd minute.

Northampton join Premiership rivals Harlequins and Exeter in next weekend’s quarter-finals where they will host South African side the Bulls, having proved their mettle and attacking class against Munster. “We’re delighted. It’s the first time we’ve been in the knockout phase of Europe for quite some time,” their director of rugby Phil Dowson said. “We knew the levels would go up, we knew the threat Munster posed and how hard they would come out of the blocks after what happened over there. We coped with that and managed to get our game on to the pitch in the second half.”

Investec Champions Cup quarter-final draw and dates: Bordeaux Begles v Harlequins (Saturday April 13, 3pm); Leinster v La Rochelle (Saturday April 13, 5.30pm); Northampton Saints v Bulls (Saturday April 13, 8pm); Toulouse v Exeter (Sunday April 14, 3pm).

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