Toulon send Leinster packing

Toulon beat Leinster 24-9 in the European Champions Cup at the Stade Mayol on Sunday, while Saracens, Leicester and Bath also won.

Leinster came into this encounter knowing only a win could keep alive their European title aspirations. But after a third consecutive defeat the former champions were knocked out of the competition, while Toulon picked up their first victory in the hope of successfully defending their title.

Flank Steffon Armitage scored both tries for the winners while teammate Eric Escande contributed the other 14 points via the boot. Johnny Sexton accounted for Leinster’s nine-point tally in a match where they were second best from the start.

Despite Leinster losing prop Cian Healy to the sin bin, Toulon held a slender 10-9 lead at the break.

Solid defence by Toulon kept Leinster scoreless at the restart. And when they lost another player to the bin, Toulon added two penalties. Back to 15 men, Leinster conceded a fourth penalty before Armitage burrowed over the line for his second try to seal the result.

Earlier, Saracens maintained their undefeated record in all competitions this season with a 45-10 demolition of Oyonnax. The London-based side scored six tries and was never truly troubled by the hosts, who only scored a late consolation try. Owen Farrell managed the game well for Sarries, kicking five conversions and a penalty goal before making way for Charlie Hodgson.

Meanwhile, another English side, the Leicester Tigers, ousted Munster 31-19 at Thomond Park. The result is the Tigers’ third straight win in the competition as they seize control of Pool 4. Tries by Vereniki Goneva, Mike Fitzgerald and Ben Youngs were enough to separate the sides, but for all their dominance, the Tigers failed to score a fourth try for the bonus point.

Elsewhere, England flyhalf George Ford nailed an injury-time conversion to secure a dramatic 25-23 win for Bath against Wasps in Coventry. In an exciting clash that saw the lead exchange hands several times, the hosts looked to have done enough with the score on 23-18 in the closing stages. Wasps were forced to finish the match with 13 men after Lorenzo Cittadini and George Smith were yellow-carded. That presented Bath with an opportunity and Anthony Watson obliged. The fullback scored in injury time to draw Bath level at 23-23, before Ford knocked over the touchline conversion for the win.

Toulon (24) – Tries: Steffon Armitage (2). Conversion: Eric Escande. Penalties: Escande (4).
Leinster (9) – Penalties: Johnny Sexton (3).

Oyonnax (10) – Try: Arthur Aziza. Conversion: Regis Lespinas. Penalty: Rory Clegg.
Saracens (45) – Tries: Penalty try, Alex Goode, Chris Wyles, Maro Itoje, Richard Wigglesworth, Schalk Brits. Conversions: Owen Farrell (5), Charlie Hodgson. Penalty: Farrell.

Munster (19) – Tries: James Cronin, Mike Sherry. Penalties: Ian Keatley (3).
Leicester Tigers (31) – Tries: Vereniki Goneva, Mike Fitzgerald, Ben Youngs. Conversions: Owen Williams (2). Penalties: Williams (2), Tommy Bell (2).

Wasps (23) – Try: Rob Miller. Penalties: Ruaridh Jackson (4), Elliot Daly, Jimmy Gopperth.
Bath (25) – Tries: Jonathan Joseph, Matt Banahan, Anthony Watson. Conversions: George Ford (2). Penalties: Ford (2).

Photo: Franck Pennant/Getty Images

Post by