Saturday 31 January 2015

Toulon juggernaut ends BOD's hopes of a fourth European title with Leinster

Published 06/04/2014 | 18:44

6 April 2014; Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster, is tackled by Delon Armitage, Toulon. Heineken Cup, Quarter-Final, Toulon v Leinster. Stade Félix Mayol, Toulon, France. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster, is tackled by Delon Armitage, Toulon
Brian O'Driscoll of Leinster is tackled by Suta Jocelino during the Heineken Cup quarter final match
Jonny Wilkiinson of Toulon walks off the pitch after receiving a leg injury during the Heineken Cup quarter final match
Jonny Wilkiinson of Toulon walks off the pitch after receiving a leg injury during the Heineken Cup quarter final
TOULON, FRANCE - APRIL 06: Steffon Armitage of Toulon charges upfield during the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Toulon and Leinster at the Felix Mayol Stadium on April 6, 2014 in Toulon, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Matt Giteau of Toulon breaks with the ball during the Heineken Cup quarter final match
Daniel Rossouw of Toulon moves past Shane Jennings during the Heineken Cup quarter final match
Brian O'Driscoll of Leinster is tackled by Suta Jocelino during the Heineken Cup quarter final match
Brian O'Driscoll of Leinster is tackled by Matt Giteau during the Heineken Cup quarter final match
Jimmy Gopperth, Leinster, kicks a first half penalty
Leinster players, from left, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip and Rhys Ruddock during a maul
Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon walks through the throng of Toulon supporters before the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Toulon and Leinster at the Felix Mayol Stadium
The Toulon team walk through the Toulon supporters on their way to the stadium during the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Toulon and Leinster at the Felix Mayol Stadium
Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon walks through the crowd before the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Toulon and Leinster
Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon walks through the crowd before the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Toulon and Leinster
Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster, is tackled by Delon Armitage
Juan Smith of Toulon is tackled during the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Toulon and Leinster
6 April 2014; Leinster supporter Robert Leonard, age 9, from Gorey, Co. Wexford, in Toulon ahead of his side's Heineken Cup Quarter-Final with Toulon. Toulon, France. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Leinster supporters Declan Dermody, from Old Town Nurney, Co. Carlow, and Emer Daly, from Ballinkillen, Co. Carlow, in Toulon
Leinster supporters Paddy Molloy, from Donnybrook, Dublin, left, and Joe Sweeney, from Stillorgan, Dublin, in Toulon
Leinster supporters Robert Leonard, age 9, and his father Philip, from Gorey, Co. Wexford, in Toulon
Leinster supporters Paul Lynch, right, and Billy Murray, from Sutton, Dublin, in Toulon
Leinster supporters Paul Lynch, right, and Billy Murray, from Sutton, Dublin, in Toulon
Leinster supporters, from left, Declan Dermody, Emer Daly, Seamus Brennan, Hugh Carpenter, Paul Lynch, Conor Nolan, all from Co. Carlow, in Toulon
Leinster supporters Barry and Martin Donovan, from Kilkenny City, in Toulon ahead of their side's Heineken Cup Quarter-Final with Toulon

Defending Heineken Cup champions Toulon knocked out three-time winners Leinster in a titanic struggle in France to set up a semi-final clash with Munster.

Xavier Chiocci and Drew Mitchell scored second-half tries while Matt Giteau kicked 10 points to steer the holders through as 29-14 victors.

Jonny Wilkinson also kicked two penalties before he was forced off during the first half through injury.

Delon Armitage kicked a penalty while brother Steffon was named man of the match following a dynamic display.

Jordi Murphy grabbed a late try for Leinster but that was too late to rescue the visitors in what was to be Brian O'Driscoll's final appearance in the Heineken Cup.

Between them these teams had lifted the trophy four times in the last five years yet this was their first meeting in the tournament.

Wilkinson kicked Toulon into a 6-0 lead though it was only some desperate Leinster defending that prevented it from being more.

Toulon, roared on by their vociferous support at the sun-drenched Stade Felix-Mayol, began at a thunderous pace, led by Mathieu Bastareaud.

The powerful French centre was twice involved in the build up to the first of Wilkinson's penalty inside four minutes after Juanne Smith went close.

Wilkinson then put David Smith through and only a crucial interception by Rob Kearney prevented a score.

That was to prove a recurring theme during the first half as Toulon were knocked off their stride by Leinster and wasted several chances.

Giteau evaded Rhys Ruddock, Mitchell broke clear and twice Craig Burden made inroads but all came to nothing amid catalogue of handling errors.

More mistakes also resulted in Wilkinson, forced to clear the danger following a dropped pass and blocked kick, trudging off injured in the 28th minute following a heavy collision.

And Jimmy Gopperth's two kicks ensured Leinster went in level 6-6 at half-time amid a chorus of whistles and boos from the restless home crowd.

Jeers turned to cheers when Toulon burst into a 10-point lead just five minutes into the second half.

Giteau struck from close to the halfway line, having missed an earlier effort from a similar range.

The former Wallaby then followed another searing break by livewire hooker Burden.

Juanne Smith and Danie Rossouw were stopped short before prop Chiocci crashed over from close range.

Gopperth clawed back three points but the game turned once Toulon made their passes stick.

Rossouw disrupted a Leinster lineout that had been erratic throughout and Steffon Armitage hacked ahead.

The English number eight showed tremendous pace to win the foot race and Bastareaud crashed through three tackles before Mitchell shrugged off Gordon D'Arcy to score a vital try on 62 minutes.

Giteau converted and Delon Armitage added a penalty from the halfway line as Toulon established a commanding 26-9 lead.

Leinster showed their mettle when they responded with a well-worked try - Murphy was bundled over from a lineout drive five metres out 10 minutes from time.

However Gopperth missed the conversion from the touchline and Toulon remained just out of sight.

The hosts ended the game with 14 men when Florian Fresia was binned for a dangerous tackle on Reddan yet it was they who had the last word.

Kearney's tackle denied David Smith a score but Giteau followed with his fourth kick to settle the tie in the final minutes.

Promoted articles

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport