Toulon escape with late Wasps win

Former Wasp George Smith will play Super Rugby for the Reds next season

Toulon fullback Drew Mitchell scored a try in extra time to help his team beat Wasps 15-11 in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Stade Félix Mayol.

Current champions Toulon looked set to lose their first European Cup game in twenty matches as the clock ticked past 80 minutes.

However in the 81st minute former All Black Ma’a Nonu set up Wallabies back Drew Mitchell for the match winning try.

While the final try cost Wasps a victory that would have seen them qualify for the play offs they will leave France with a losing bonus point and their campaign is still alive.

The result puts Toulon on top of their pool but they have to travel to Bath  in the final round.

For Wasps though Dai Young’s side must beat a resurgent Leinster at home next weekend to go through.

When the two sides met in November, Toulon were unrecognisable and Wasps cruised to a handsome 32-6 thrashing.

It was very different this time around, though, as the European champions dominated the early exchanges.

A desperate last gasp double-tackle from Sailosi Tagicakibau and Joe Simpson prevented Bryan Habana from scoring a certain try in the left corner.

But it was Habana himself who helped create the game’s opening try on 12 minutes.

The South Africa wing intercepted the ball inside Toulon’s 22 and started a counter-attack that saw Josua Tuisova break down the right wing before passing inside to Quade Cooper to score.

Habana was in the thick of things and it was he who was barged into touch by George Smith after he’d kicked ahead that saw Wasps find themselves down to 14 men as the Australian international flanker was sent to the sin bin.

Eric Escande kicked the resulting penalty but Wasps managed their numerical disadvantage expertly, pushing Toulon back inside their own half before earning a kick of their own in front of the posts, which New Zealander Jimmy Gopperth didn’t miss.

What had made the difference in the first half, though, was Wasps’ 16 missed tackles to just five from Toulon, who led 8-3.

Toulon replacement fly-haf Frederic Michalak missed a simple-looking kick before the hour mark, after which Gopperth reduced the arrears with his own successful attempt.

Michalak missed another kick before Wasps struck with brutal efficiency.

Elliot Daly brushed off Nonu in midfield and helped set up Guy Thompson to crash over in the corner, breaking through one tackle, handing off a second tackler and resisting the attentions of two further Toulon players to score.

Wasps looked set for a famous win but Toulon demonstrated why they have ruled Europe for the last three years as Mitchell had the last word.

Final Score Toulon 15 (3) Wasps 11 (3)


Tries – Cooper
Pen – Gopperth (2)
Con –
Drop –

Tries – Thompson, Mitchell
Pen – Escande
Con – Michalak
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales),
Assistant ref: Leighton Hodges (Wales),
Assistant ref: Wayne Davies (Wales),
TMO: Jonathan Mason (Wales),
Citing Commissioner: Eugene Ryan (Ireland)


RC Toulon: Drew Mitchell; Josua Tuisova, Mathieu Bastareaud, Ma’a Nonu, Bryan Habana; Quade Cooper, Eric Escande; Florian Fresia, Guilhem Guirado, Levan Chilachava, Jocelino Suta (c), Konstantine Mikautadze, Juan Smith, Steffon Armitage, Duane Vermeulen

Replacements: Anthony Etrillard, Xavier Chiocci, Manasa Saulo, Mamuka Gorgodze, Frederic Michalak, Maxime Mermoz, Sebastien Tillous-Borde, Thibault Lassale

Wasps: Charles Piutau; Sailosi Tagicakibau, Elliot Daly, Ben Jacobs, Frank Halai; Jimmy Gopperth, Joe Simpson; Matt Mullan (c), Edd Shervington, Lorenzo Cittadini, Bradley Davies, James Gaskell, Sam Jones, George Smith, Guy Thompson

Replacements: Ashley Johnson, Simon McIntyre, Phil Swainston, Kearnan Myall, Thomas Young, Dan Robson, Ruaridh Jackson, Rob Miller

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.