Munster head coach Rob Penney hailed his side’s performance as “outstanding” and “terrific” after they brushed aside the challenge of Toulouse challenge in a heavyweight Heineken Cup quarter-final clash.
The Irish champions ran in six tries for a superb 47-23 victory over the French giants, with Dave Kilcoyne, man-of-the-match CJ Stander, Casey Laulala, Simon Zebo and Paul O’Connell adding to a lone first-half effort from Keith Earls.
Hosea Gear and Joe Tekori touched down for Toulouse, who closed the gap to 13-9 for half-time, however Guy Noves’ men look a shell of the team that last won European silverware in 2010.
From his own perspective, Penney explained his charges were determined to show their class in booking a semi-final place - the province’s 11th in the last 15 years.
“It was great to get the win but the performance was outstanding. It’s not a secret how dangerous Toulouse are and great credit to the lads both sides of the ball. They were terrific and you need to be against a side like that,” he said.
“They all had to play big today. If we had any weaknesses they would be exposed and we talked all week about everyone having the best game they could have in the Munster jersey.
“You could look along 1 to 15 and the guys who came on...they were so determined to do well for each other and the spirit is there and is going to see this organisation well for a period of time.”
Munster only led by four points at the break despite having the majority of possession. A brace of tries within six minutes of the restart by Kilcoyne and the immense Stander put Munster into a lead that Toulouse never looked like overcoming.
Penney was not worried at that point though, admitting: “I thought there were opportunities to get another couple of scores. They probably had a couple as well but to be up into the wind and playing the way we were was a great joy when we came in at half-time.
“We just encouraged them to keep going, do what they were doing. There wasn’t a lot of need to change anything. It was about bringing the same excitement we had in the first half into the second half and they did that certainly with a couple of nice tries.”
After the demoralising loss, Toulouse boss Noves said that Munster were worthy winners, praising their display in the second 40 minutes in particular.
“Munster taught us a lesson. They were outstanding. We tried to play all the ball but we exposed ourselves,” he said.
“We gave it our all, we put everything into the game. They deserved the score, but my job is about helping the team to learn the lessons and bounce back for the Top 14.
“I hope we will be able to react as a squad who are proud of their jersey, who have won five (pool) games out of six and have been defeated by a great Munster team.”
Penney added that it was one of the more complete performances of his reign, stating: “Without a doubt, against a side like that and the occasion that it was.
“The manner in which the boys went about their work and not once did they go into their shells or get nervous even when a little bit of pressure came on them in the second half.
“They stuck to the task, stuck to the strategies we put in place and got the reward at the end.”
The only real negative for Munster was the arm injury which forced their captain Peter O’Mahony off at the end of the first quarter, with South African Stander replacing him in the back row. Penney said the injury ‘doesn’t look great’ and