Toulon march on to semis

Frédéric Michalak scored 22 points in Toulon's 32-18 quarter-final win against Wasps on Sunday.

Toulon remain on course for a third consecutive European title. Their forwards were outstanding in the first half of this Champions Cup play-off, while Michalak produced a flawless goal-kicking performance to ensure the hosts went to the break with a commanding 22-6 lead.

Wasps started the second half strongly, with winger William Helu rounding off a great move from the lineout. The subsequent conversion by replacement flyhalf Andy Goode reduced the deficit to nine points.

Toulon were not as clinical on attack in the second stanza, and coughed up possession at crucial stages. While their finishing left a lot to be desired, they did well to play much of the game down in Wasps territory.

Eventually the pressure told, with the Toulon scrum winning a penalty in the 68th minute. Michalak goaled his seventh attempt of the afternoon and restored the hosts' advantage.

The importance of that penalty was confirmed moments later when Helu claimed his second try. Goode failed to convert, leaving Wasps seven points adrift of the hosts' score.

But Toulon would have the final say. The hosts forced the penalty, and booted the ball downfield. This time their attack penetrated the Wasps defence, with Ali Williams finishing in the right-hand corner. Fittingly, Michalak added the extras to maintain his 100% record.

Toulon will face Leinster in the first Champions Cup semi-final on 17 April. The other play-off will be contested by Clermont and Saracens.

Toulon – Tries: Steffon Armitage, Ali Williams. Conversions: Frédéric Michalak (2). Penalties: Michalak (6).
Wasps – Tries: William Helu (2). Conversion: Andy Goode. Penalties: Alex Lozowski (2).

Toulon – 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Frédéric Michalak, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Mamuka Gorgodze, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Carl Hayman (c), 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Alexandre Menini.
Subs: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Rudi Wulf, 21 Matt Giteau, 22 Michael Claassens, 23 Jocelino Suta.

Wasps – 15 Rob Miller, 14 William Helu, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Andrea Masi, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Guy Thompson, 7 James Haskell (c), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Subs: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Alapati Leiua.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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