Toulon cruised past Cardiff Blues thanks to seven tries in a 45-25 win over the Welsh side at the Stade Mayol in the Heineken Cup.
Toulon cruised past Cardiff Blues thanks to seven tries in a 45-25 win over the Welsh side at the Stade Mayol in the Heineken Cup on Saturday.
The result leaves Toulon five points clear of Montpellier – whom they face next week – at the top of Pool Six.
The hosts were left stunned after the Blues took a surprise lead in the opening ten minutes, with Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny finishing in the corner after a break from Owen Williams, but from then on the traffic only went one way.
Toulon were given too much space to attack in the Blues defence and created a whole host of chances in the first half, coming away with three tries when they could have had more.
Jonny Wilkinson added the conversion to Rudi Wulf's try shortly after Halfpenny's score to reduce the visitors' lead to a single point, and just over five minutes later Xavier Chiocci strode over for another converted score to give the hosts a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
JC Orioli added a third try shortly before the break for Toulon and, though Wilkinson was this time wide with the extras, the hosts' dominance was apparent, and a comeback from the Blues appeared unlikely.
Looking for a response after their first home defeat since September 2011 against Racing MÃ©tro last weekend, Maxime Mermoz wrapped up the try bonus point after 43 minutes.
The Blues struggled to cope with Toulon's strength in depth as Joe van Niekerk, Matt Giteau and Simon Shaw entered the fray and the hosts racked up three more tries. Alexis Palisson and Mathie Bastareaud both touched down before Giteau converted Florian Fresia's clinical effort just after the hour.
The Blues stemmed the tide with an unconverted score from Alex Cuthbert and, to their credit, added two further consolation tries in the closing minutes through Halfpenny and Dafydd Hewitt to give the final scoreline a more credible look.
Tries: Wulf, Chiocci, Orioli, Mermoz, Palisson, Bastareaud, Fresia
Cons: Wilkinson 4, Giteau
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Halfpenny 2, Cuthbert, Hewitt
Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Nick Kennedy, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Xavier Chiocci.
Replacements: 16 Sebastien Bruno, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 Davit Kubriashvili, 20 Joe van Niekerk, 21 Matt Giteau, 22 David Smith, 23 Nicolas Durand.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Lou Reed, 4 James Down, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Daffyd Hewitt.