After 12 years of remarkable achievements, it seems that Munster's near legendary rise is now at an end.

Discussions that began earlier this year with the premise that Munster is an ageing team and perhaps a fading force have received some justification in recent months and their recent form has only added to the chorus.

Critics claim that Toulon's tactics and selection (Jonny Wilkinson at out-half) were note perfect, however Munster got theirs badly wrong.

Toulon played aggressively, with their half-backs tackling and controlling the game. Munster's game plan seemed to be to move the conservative Toulon side around the park, but for that they should have picked Johne Murphy, Munster's most consistent attacker this season, in the centre ahead of Sam Tuitupou.

Instead, Munster were buzz sawed by the spirited Toloun defence. What followed was Munster losing their discipline as the frustration of the match got the better of them.

It had begun so well too, but Toulon's game was swift and unstoppable.

At times the French team almost looked surprised by their superior playing and the ending was an inevitability.

So a bitter day for Munster and their legions of supporters, who must have realized that Leinster have now moved far beyond them.