PARIS - Two-time defending champions Leinster and four-time winners Toulouse crashed out of the European Cup yesterday as Munster and Leicester sneaked into the quarter-finals.
Leinster, who have won three of the last four tournaments, became the first champions to exit in the pool stages since Wasps in 2008.
Leinster had their fate sealed when fellow Irish province Munster beat Racing-Metro 29-6 in Limerick in Pool 1 to deny them one of the two best runners-up spots available for the quarter-finals.
Munster ended their pool campaign second in the group to Saracens and were level on points with Leinster, but edge their Irish rivals for a last-eight spot on tries scored.
"If we hadn't reached the quarter-finals the people would be in the long grass, there would have been a lot of bullets being fired," said Munster coach Rob Penney.
"If we hadn't gotten the outcome, I would have still been proud of the progress we are making and the areas of growth we are getting."
At Welford Road, where 50 tonnes of snow had been removed from the pitch in the 48 hours leading up to the game, two-time champions Leicester topped Pool 2 with a gritty 9-5 win over Toulouse.
In a game played in treacherous conditions, the French side's kickers squandered 17 points with the boot.
Toulouse scored the game's only try early in the second half when winger Yoann Huget stumbled over the line, but Toby Flood's three first-half penalties proved decisive for the Tigers.