Wilkinson kicks Toulon to Top 14 title
May 31, 2014
Toulon secured their second trophy in eight days with an 18-10 victory over Castres in the Top 14 final at Stade de France, with Jonny Wilkinson bringing down the curtain on his remarkable career four penalties and a drop-goal in one last near-perfect performance.
Castres rarely threatened an upset, struggling as much as Saracens did a week ago to make any impression on the Toulon defence, and the longer the game went on the less likely they looked to find a way back into the match.
It was a scrappy stop-start affair with few real highlights and that, allied to his kicks and leadership, meant the attention in the final minutes was all on Wilkinson. His popularity on and off the pitch at Toulon, and the respect in which he is held, was evident as he was mobbed at the full-time whistle.
A symbolic passing on the baton to the next era came in the dying minutes when Wilkinson stood aside to allow Delon Armitage to kick the penalty from almost halfway which finally put Castres to bed.
Castres started brightly and scored the game's only try - and took a 7-3 lead - after 12 minutes when Max Evans gathered his kick over the top as the Toulon backs made a meal of dealing with it.
But after that openings were rare and Castres failed to take the penalty chances when they came while Toulon took theirs. Toulon only led 12-10 at the break but the writing was on the wall.
The second half failed to come to life, Castres' options exhausted and Toulon happy to grind them down. Wilkinson made another tough kick look easy to give them a six point lead and Armitage applied the coup de grace.
Jonny Wilkinson prepares for one of his last kicks © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
British bantamweight Paul Butler overcame Ismael Garnica with a 10-round decision at Liverpool's Echo Arena
Stephen Bunting stunned four-time winner Phil Taylor in one of the matches of the year to book his place in the quarter-finals of the European Championships in Germany
The Scarlets claimed a first win of their European Champions Cup Pool Three campaign with a gutsy triumph over Leicester Tigers in an error-strewn Anglo-Welsh clash at Parc y Scarlets
Luke Campbell sealed the biggest win of his professional career by stopping Daniel Brizuela in five rounds
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said Mario Balotelli had "worked very well and very hard" after watching his side held to a 0-0 draw by Hull at Anfield