Toulon to face Saracens in Heineken Cup final

Toulon’s kept their hopes of retaining their Heineken Cup champions title alive when they beat Munster 24-16 at Stade Velodrome in their Semi-final.

Toulon will now face Saracens in the Heineken Cup final at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff on Saturday the 24th of May

Former England great Jonny Wilkinson scored 21 of his side’s points while Munster
— appearing in a record 11th semi-final — scored the only try of the match
through Simon Zebo.

Toulon will play English side Saracens, who thrashed last season’s finalists
Clermont 46-6 on Saturday, in the final in Cardiff on May 24.

The first-half turned into a kicking at goal competition between Wilkinson
and his opposite number Ian Keatley with the former England international landing
four penalties while the Irishman converted three from three opportunities.

Wilkinson also landed a drop goal while compatriot Delon Armitage converted
a superb long range effort on the stroke of half-time from just inside the Toulon
half.

The Irish province had only themselves to blame for going in behind for apart
from a series of mistakes they also failed to take advantage of referee Wayne
Barnes reducing the hosts to 14 men in the 29th minute.

The Englishman, after consulting with the video referee, decided to sin bin
Argentinian Juan Fernandez-Lobbe for unintentional raking of a Munster opponent.

Toulon came out firing on all cylinders in the second-half and it took a superb
tackle from Ireland wing Zebo to deny Armitage’s brother Steffon a try — the
No8’s foot going into touch before he touched down over the tryline.

Munster were under real pressure as Toulon’s South African wing Bryan Habana
started to sparkle, one penetrating run through the centre setting up another
try-scoring opportunity which Keith Earls managed to prevent.

Those close escapes provoked the Irish province into finally launching an attack
of their own and it resulted in a try for Zebo.

Scrum-half Conor Murray peeled off a ruck and fed Zebo who used his momentum
to take himself and opposite number Drew Mitchell over the line.

Despite Toulon believing Steffon Armitage had got back to prevent Zebo grounding
the ball Barnes gave the try without referring it and Keatley converted brilliantly
from the left hand touchline to bring Munster to within two points of the hosts.

Keatley missed an opportunity to give his side the lead for the first time
soon afterwards and the game looked to have shifted once more back into the
hosts’ favour in the 64th minute when Barnes wielded the yellow card at Earls
for tackling David Smith without the ball.

Wilkinson made no mistake with the resulting penalty to make it 21-16.

Despite this reverse it was Munster who turned on the pressure and twice kicked
to touch for position than go for goal as they sensed Toulon were rocking even
with the man advantage.

Even in defence Munster held their own with a superb block denying Wilkinson
a second drop goal with just seven minutes remaining.

However Toulon finally sealed victory with two minutes left as Munster conceded
a penalty and the peerless Wilkinson slotted over the kick to complete the scoring.

Final Score Toulon 24 (18) Munster 16 (9)

Scorers

Toulon
Tries –
Pen -Wilkinson (6), Armitage
Con –
Drop – Wilkinson

Munster
Tries – Zebo
Pen – Keatley (3)
Con – Keatley
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee:
Wayne Barnes (England),
Assistant ref: JP Doyle (England),
Assist

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