Next LIVE rugby on TV
to be announced
Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:30:05 +0000
  • Switch Edition
ESPN SCRUM / Heineken Cup 2013-14 / Reaction
Follow@ESPNSCRUM
Heineken Cup
Toulon survive 'relentless' test
ESPN Staff
April 27, 2014
Jonny Wilkinson kicked six penalties to ensure Toulon reached their second successive final © Getty Images
Enlarge

Jonny Wilkinson hailed the performance of his Toulon team-mates after they overcame a "relentless" Munster to reach the Heineken Cup final.

Wilkinson converted six of his seven penalty attempts and also dropped a first half goal to leave Toulon just one win away from retaining their European title. It could prove to be a fairytale finish to his career as the May 24 final against Saracens in Cardiff comes on the eve of his 35th birthday.

"It was a hell of a game. You're just in danger everywhere on the field because you give away a penalty, you turn the ball over.. .five points was just not enough, at the end the eight was almost not enough, it's just relentless," said a relieved Wilkinson afterwards.

"Munster go for you and even in defence, they hold you up and they've got so much technique and power up their sleeves. They've got good speed and skills. Today was a game where we had to cover everything and be switched on and it takes your energy away."

Wilkinson kicked 15 points and fellow Englishman Delon Armitage weighed in with a 55-metre penalty on the stroke of half-time to give the hosts a 18-9 interval lead. Despite trailing from start to finish, Munster dug deep in their bid to overhaul Toulon in an absorbing second period.

Ian Keatley converted Simon Zebo's 53rd-minute try to add to his three earlier penalties, but Wilkinson's opposite number missed a long range penalty to put them ahead and they were hampered by Keith Earls' subsequent sin-binning.

Wilkinson will come up against the current holder of the England number 10 jersey - Owen Farrell - in next month's decider. Farrell helped Saracens demolish Clermont Auvergne 46-6 in their semi-final at Twickenham, the same venue where Wilkinson kicked Toulon past Sarries in the last four 12 months ago.

Asked about the rematch, Wilkinson said: "We didn't get a chance to see the Saracens game [yesterday], but we've heard nothing but great stuff about them. They're top of the English league, they're consistent, aggressive and have the skills.

"To beat Clermont by that sort of score is unheard of. There's an enormous amount of respect there [for them]. It's a big end to the season for both teams and we just want to try and end it on the right note."

Wilkinson's opposite number Ian Keatley was "absolutely gutted" that Munster have now suffered back-to-back Heineken Cup semi-final defeats in France. Ruing the errors that allowed Wilkinson to keep Toulon in the ascendancy, Keatley admitted: "We didn't do all the things that we said we would do. We gave them a few penalties and easy 'outs'.

"When they kicked off to us, we didn't exit well. I think we managed to give away six or nine points just from not getting out of our danger area. They kept the scoreboard ticking over with Jonny. We knew he was going to be immense with the boot and he did it again today."

Munster head coach Rob Penney, who is moving to Japan at the end of the current campaign, pointed to those costly penalties that left his side with an uphill task. "We just couldn't control possession well enough. We made too many errors. We were thinking we were finishing over the top of them (in the second half) but it just wasn't to be," he said.

"We'll look over this game and it will be a bit ugly to watch - we were our own worst enemies today which is really unfortunate. The guys tried hard but we just weren't clinical enough."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - United States GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Darts - The Masters
    Golf - BMW Masters, Shanghai
    Golf - CIMB Classic
    Tennis - Paris Masters
    Horse Racing - Breeders' Cup, Santa Anita
    Snooker - International Championship, Chengdu
  • Football

    Moyes 'meets with Sociedad president'

    Real Sociedad's president has reportedly met with David Moyes in London in an attempt to convince the former Manchester United manager to take over the club

  • Football

    Wenger: Arsenal can still catch Chelsea

    Arsene Wenger is "convinced" Arsenal are still contenders in this season's Premier League title race, even though they have fallen nine points behind leaders Chelsea after just nine games

  • Formula 1

    Button in a 'better place' regarding F1 future

    Jenson Button says he feels less pressure about his future than he did before the Japanese Grand Prix despite the ongoing threat of being replaced by Fernando Alonso at McLaren

  • Football

    Wilshere injury short term, says Wenger

    Jack Wilshere could miss Arsenal's Premier League game against Burnley on Saturday but Arsene Wenger insists the midfielder's latest injury setback is not serious

  • Golf

    Westwood in contention after hole-in-one

    Lee Westwood hit a hole-in-one to help move himself into contention for the CIMB Classic as he targets a second tournament win at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in seven months

Sponsored Links
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!