Toulon outgun Castres to reach Top 14 semifinals

Leigh Halfpenny was the star of the show as Toulon booked their place in the Top 14 semifinals. Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny turned in a crucial performance to help Toulon overcome Castres 26-22 in the Top 14 quarterfinals.

Halfpenny traded penalties with kicking counterpart Benjamin Urdapilleta early on and the hosts soon crossed the whitewash, too, with Laurent Delboulbes diving over after good work from Francois Trinh-Duc.

Urdapilleta replied twice with the boot to draw Castres to within a score before the interval, raining over another after it to cut the lead to a point after Liam Gill's high tackle on Rory Kockott had earned him a sin-binning.

Drew Mitchell's deliberate knock-on prompted the referee to award Castres a penalty try and the lead but it was at this point Halfpenny took centre stage -- converting a penalty and then his own brilliantly-crafted try.

Castres threw everything they could into the breakdowns as the minutes ticked down but the Toulon response was equally fierce; booking them a last-four clash with La Rochelle.