Toulouse will now face either Exeter Chiefs or Northampton Saints in next week’s Champions Cup semi-final (Saturday, September 26)
Cheslin Kolbe scored two superb tries, in addition to further scores from Antoine Dupont, Thomas Ramos and Pita Ahki, as Toulouse comfortably dispatched Ulster 36-8 to make the Champions Cup semi-finals.
Kolbe showed his class at the beginning and end of the first half as he twice stepped inside Ireland wing Jacob Stockdale to round off sweeping moves.
Wave after wave of attack eventually put Kolbe one on one with Stockdale and the Springbok came off his dynamic right foot to step inside his man and score the first of Toulouse’s five tries.
That score came while Ulster centre James Hume was receiving attention after being bowled over by a charging run by former Connacht centre Ahki.
Toulouse dominated territory and possession in the opening quarter, but could not turn their pressure into more points.
It certainly helped the Ulster cause that home full-back Thomas Ramos missed with the conversion and then two more penalties after making it 8-0 with a 14th-minute penalty.
Ulster showed four changes from the team that failed in the PRO14 final Dublin the previous weekend but welcomed back scrum-half John Cooney into the starting line-up.
Head coach Dan McFarland went with a 6-2 split of forwards to backs on the bench and – after losing outside half Billy Burns to a calf strain in the first half, and center Stuart McCloskey after the turnaround – they ended up with a full-back at No 10 and a scrum-half on the wing.
But despite being hit with that blistering start, Ulster dug deep and a penalty from Cooney in the 26th minute put them right back in the contest. They also managed a number of line-breaks but could not manufacture the final pass to make them pay.
Kolbe showed his fancy footwork once again as he outwitted Stockdale for a second time and Ramos’ conversion made it 15-3 at the break. Three more tries flowed in the second half as the lead grew to 33 points.
Two of the tries were made by charging runs from centre Sofiane Giteau, paving the way for the outstanding French scrum-half Dupont and Ramos to score. Ahki got the other with a neat kick and chase up the left touchline.