Toulon knock out poor Leinster

Date published: December 13 2015

Toulon registered their first Champions Cup victory of the season when they beat Leinster 24-9 at Stade Felix Mayol on Sunday.

The result has dire consequences for the Irish province as it means they are knocked out of the competition with three defeats from three matches.

Toulon outscored their visitors two tries to none with Steffon Armitage scoring both five-pointers and Eric Escande contributed 14 points via a conversion and four penalties.

The first half was very tightly contested. The half’s solitary try came from openside Armitage. Scrum-half Escande also added five points from the boot.

Leinster’s nine points of the half came from three Jonny Sexton penalties. Leinster also received a yellow card either side of half-time for Cian Healy and Devin Toner respectively.

Leo Cullen’s men failed to add to their score in the second half, with Toulon’s only points coming from three Escande penalties and a second Armitage try.

After Matt Stevens was penalised at the scrum, Leinster opened the scoring from the boot of Sexton. His two quick-fire penalties opened up a six point lead for the Irish side.

But inevitably, Toulon powered their way over the line a few minutes later. An exceptional driving maul from the 949kg French pack saw Armitage power over for the score.

Escande added three points from the tee to assert Toulon’s growing control over the game. The battle of the boot continued, with Sexton adding another three points.

Leinster’s task was made more difficult when Healy was shown yellow. His knee found the head of Toulon hooker Guihelm Guirado and was deemed dangerous by Nigel Owens.

However, Bernard Laporte’s side failed to take advantage of the extra man, giving them a 10-9 lead going into half-time. After the break, Leinster’s ill-discipline continued when Toner was also shown yellow for entering the maul from the side.

This time, Toulon took advantage of Leinster’s 14 men with Escande slotting another two penalties whilst Toner was off the field. Despite Leinster being back to their full compliment, the Irish outfit gave away far too many penalties.

Escande kicked another penalty for Toulon to take Leinster out of losing bonus point range. Replacement Tom Downton was shown a yellow card in the dying seconds at the breakdown to epitomise Leinster’s lack of discipline throughout the game.

The win was capped with a second try from Armitage as the clock hit 80 minutes. Whilst it wasn’t the most impressive performance from a Toulon side that boasts a phenomenal amount of world class players, this victory for them was fairly comfortable over a lacklustre Leinster side.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Armitage 2
Con: Escande
Pens: Escande 4

For Leinster:
Pens: Sexton 3
Yellow cards: Healey, Toner, Denton

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Mamuka Gorgodze, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Juan Smith, 20 Tom Taylor, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Anthony Meric, 23 Jocelino Suta.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Ben Te’o, 12 Luke Fitzgerald, 11 Isa Nacewa (c), 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Dave Kearney.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)