Planet Rugby

Wilkinson kicks Toulon to victory

28th April 2013 16:50

Share:

Saracens ten Owen Farrell and Toulon ten Jonny Wilkinson on the floor

Marksman: Jonny Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson's magical drop goal sent Toulon through to their first ever Heineken Cup final with a 24-12 win over Saracens.

It was a match of Test-level intensity in front of a distinctly un-Test like crowd. The boots of Farrell and Wilkinson dominated throughout, with the former England fly-half's last effort easily the best of the lot.

With a meagre crowd of 25,584 in attendance both sides sought to puncture what was a hollow atmosphere - a disappointing situation that reflected poorly on the sport.

Wilkinson will take the plaudits and rightly so, but the work of Toulon's pack was the true cause for their success. Chris Masoe in particular was outstanding - bullying the opposition on the run and on the ground.

Saracens were never truly shut out but their opportunities as the second-half wore on were wasted - Farrell and Joel Tomkins the culprits for failing to benefit from generous overlaps on the left. A second Heineken Cup semi-final loss that will sting much greater than the first.

Danie Rossouw's careless high tackle led to Farrell opening the scoring in the second minute with a penalty, Wilkinson responding instantly as both kickers opened their accounts.

A sustained attack started by Delon Armitage culminated in Wilkinson putting Toulon ahead with another penalty - the French side's scrum boasting the early advantage. Another penalty following a break from Alexis Palisson had left Toulon 9-3 ahead at the end of the opening quarter.

Penalties from both kickers added to the scoreboard - Palisson avoiding being sent to the bin for a deliberate knock on - before Farrell cut the deficit to three with Bastareaud isolated at the breakdown.

In the shootout between both kickers somebody had to miss first, Farrell failing with a chance to level the scores before half-time with a long-range penalty - Toulon ahead 12-9 at the interval.

Far from flash but intensely physical, Toulon's power began to tell after the break through runs from Masoe and Rossouw resulting in yet another scrum penalty - Andrew Sheridan imposing his mark as Wilkinson added another three points.

Saracens however remained in touch and they made it count - Rossouw's second careless tackle seeing him sent to the bin with Farrell striking the penalty.

Sin-binnings transform matches such as these and it spurred Saracens into life. Vunipola rumbled and hustled his way through the defence before sprinting clear, the attack eventually crumbling as Farrell's wide pass to Brown drifted forward and cost a crucial try.

The introduction of Charlie Hodgson for the injured Brad Barritt handed Saracens an extra cultured boot in midfield, but Saracens continued to lose out at the breakdown - Masoe's presence felt once more.

With a magnificent long-range strike from within his own half, Wilkinson halted the Saracens resurgence momentarily.

At times their own worst enemy, another huge overlap was squandered - Tomkins' pass this time letting the Premiership leaders down as it drifted forward with numbers out wide.

Jean-Charles Orioli's moment of madness nearly cost Toulon a score as he threw a lineout into Sheridan's back, but the French side escaped once more.

Rudi Wulf had the chance to kill off the game after besting Alex Goode in the air, his offload to Bastareaud drifting forward before Palisson came a fingertip away from heading to the right-hand corner after Matt Giteau's clever cross-field kick.

Wilkinson though had another magical moment in his locker - half-tackled by Farrell, he drilled over an astonishing drop-goal to put Toulon out of sight. An unfathomable piece of skill few players could execute.

A further penalty from Wilkinson widened the gap to 24-12 and so it remained - Twickenham's favourite son named Man of the Match and appropriately booting the ball into touch to send Toulon to Dublin and a final with Clermont.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Pens: Farrell 4

For Toulon:
Pens: Wilkinson 7
Drop Goal: Wilkinson
Yellow Card: Rossouw

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 George Kruis, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Danie Rossouw, 5 Nick Kennedy, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Joe van Niekerk, 20 Steffon Armitage, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Jocelino Suta.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)
Citing Commissioner: Denis Templeton (Ireland)

by Ben Coles
@bencoles_

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411