Thursday 8 December 2016

'Game smarts' enough to edge Toulon over line

Published 24/04/2015 | 02:30

Toulon's winger Bryan Habana dives to score a try during the European Champions Cup semi final between Toulon and Leinster on April 19, 2015 at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille
Toulon's winger Bryan Habana dives to score a try during the European Champions Cup semi final between Toulon and Leinster on April 19, 2015 at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille

Their experience seems to be one of the biggest factors that sets this Toulon side apart from everyone else in Europe.

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When you look at them physically, player for player, they are not way ahead of other teams.

But they know how to grind out wins when they are not at their best and they seem to be able to handle those pressure situations.

Most of Toulon's squad have two European Cup medals in their back pocket and having that knowledge in the bank certainly helps when you find yourself in a tough battle like what they experienced in Marseille against Leinster on Sunday.

Toulon didn't panic when Ali Williams was sin-binned in extra-time for tackling Devin Toner in the air. They earned a penalty which allowed them to get their noses in front and forced Leinster into chasing the game.

Whereas Toulon remained calm under pressure, Ian Madigan trying to chase the game threw a poor cut-out pass and Bryan Habana (pictured) intercepted to book their ticket to Twickenham.

Toulon are able to identify an opportunity and take the right option and that's why they are in their third European Cup final in three years.

Irish Independent

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