Toulon cash in on foreign legion

Toulon smashed through Leinster's defence to go through to the semi-finals of the European Cup on Sunday.

The French team drew on their massive overseas international talent to run out 29-14 winners, two tries to one.

The Leinster defence scrambled bravely against an unremitting attack to end the first half 6-6 on penalties, but the breakthrough came shortly after the restart, when former Sharks hooker Craig Burden made yet another superb break, which, after several phases on the Leinster line, ended in a try for prop Xavier Chiocci. The conversion by Wallaby Matt Giteau, added to an earlier penalty, put Toulon 16-6 ahead, and Leinster were on the ropes.

Australian wing Drew Mitchell extended the lead with a try under the posts after an industrial break by Mathieu Bastareaud; which was followed by a bizarre penalty by Delon Armitage. He was called up to take the kick 5m within his own half after a member of the support staff had run on to the field with kicking tee in hand when the penalty was awarded. Despite the protests of the captain, who would have gone for touch, that action determined there would be a kick at goal.

Toulon's driving play, led by lock Danie Rossouw, ensured that the Irish were always on the back foot. A late try by Jordi Murphy was scant consolation for the three-times champions, which saw the final appearance in Europe of Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll.

Toulon, who have never never lost at home in the European Cup, will host Munster in the semi-finals. Flank CJ Stander, last seen in Blue Bulls colours, produced a Man of the Match performance, which included a try, to lead Munster to a 47-23 win over Toulouse on Saturday.

In the other semi-final Saracens will meet Clermont at Twickenham on 26 April. Saracens beat a desperate Ulster, who played 76 minutes with 14 men after an early red card to fullback Jared Payne, 17-15.

Munster 47 Toulouse 23
Clermont Auvergne 22 Leicester 16
Ulster 15 Saracens 17
Toulon 29 Leinster 14

Saracens vs Clermont (Twickenham, 26 April)
Toulon vs Munster (Marseille, 27 April)

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images