The Top 5 French Flair moments


Barbarians too good for England XV


Ma'afu banned for punch on Tom Youngs


Japanese player loses ball over tryline


Carlos Spencer & Stephen Larkham fight


Tameifuna's huge hit on Michael Hooper


Jason Rutledge's great tryline defence


Toulon do the double with Top 14 win


The Top 5 'Big Boppers' in World Rugby

Friday, December 17, 2010

London Irish desperate for return win after loss to Toulon

London Irish desperate for return win after loss to Toulon

Tomorrow Toulon host London Irish in a crucial pool 3 game that will effectively decide if Irish will continue in the Heineken Cup or not. Last weekend Toulon got the better of them, winning 19-13 at the Madejski Stadium.

Jonny Wilkinson was destroyer in chief, while Joe Van Niekerk put in a performance that will have quite possibly put the forgotten man of Springbok rugby back on the map. The same can be said for Wilkinson and England, as he showed that he is anything but over the hill, as some have suggested he is at this stage in his career.

"Jonny gets better with age, like a fine wine," said London Irish coach Toby Booth. "He didn't look in decline to me. I saw him stop George Stowers on the short side 10 metres out... I think he's actually getting a bit better. He's like a fine wine, he added, before reflecting on Van Niekerks performance.

"He was the difference between the teams, to be fair. It's fairly evident that their game plan revolves around him, and while we knew what was coming, he caused us massive problems. In a hard-fought, competitive contest, he was the true quality act. Sometimes, you have to put up your hand and admit these things," said Booth.

Van Niekerk himself was all about praise for Wilkinson. "You can't say any more about Wilko, the guy's a genius. What more do you want from a 10 than keeping the scoreboard rolling? It's a privilege and an honour to play with a guy like that. Jonny is still world class."

Crashing to their sixth defeat in a row, the Exiles were in fact lucky to not go down by a larger margin as Toulon missed a few chances that should probably have been put away.

This weekend London Irish will be going for the win as they visit Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol for a game that is vital for the visitors to win, something Booth is well aware of.

"It's a cup final. Realistically we're going to find it difficult if we don't get a result so we know what we have to do. From a Heineken Cup point-of-view, it's a 'do or die' situation."


Time: 04:11

Posted at 10:22 am | 26 comments

Viewing 26 comments

Anonymous December 17, 2010 11:54 am

This commentator should be hanged...

His voice is awful...

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 12:03 pm

INSUPPORTABLE CE COMMENTATEUR...

Great game for Toulon, the French Team are top since debut of competition.

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 12:06 pm

"This commentator should be hanged...

His voice is awful..."

clearly a matter of taste. i prefer a passionate guy like him over most of the english speaking commentators with their lame, over-analyzing and strictly neutral voice...

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 12:11 pm

^ same, especially the guy from Eurosport and Miles Harrison.. He is way too camp and irritating with his generic statements such as, "Well, that's why you have ____ in a great team like this because he gives you _____." Although he's not the only one.

Looked like an odd game of rugby/football at times, loved the london irish counter attack try.
Don't think either of these teams will be leaving the pool, it's between Munster and the Ospreys.

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seb December 17, 2010 12:13 pm

that one attack had try of the year written all over it, lovely stuff

french commentators allways get so excited, its awesome and i prefer that to the dull and sometimes dumb commentary from many english speaking commentators

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Nico December 17, 2010 12:34 pm

Geez, how many tries did Toulon spoil????
Looks like a good gane though.

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 12:41 pm

"Realistically we're going to find it difficult if we don't get a result so we know what we have to do."

Eh, shurly shome mishtake - aren't they already effectively out of it after 2 losses and letting Munster get the losing BP?

There won't be a 2nd place qualifier from this pool, so if they don't top the pool they don't qualify.

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bradders December 17, 2010 12:59 pm

what a scrappy game! Toulon were very guilty of pushing it too hard as opposed to recycling the ball. Tried too many 50/50 passes.

Was fast paced though which is pretty exciting rugby at times.

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Colombes December 17, 2010 1:00 pm

This commentator should be definetly hanged, even in french, i confirm ;)

how many tries waste Toulon!?

As in Clermont and Leinster pool, hard to find the one(s) who will finish first. i would say munster, with a bit of experience

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Luxi December 17, 2010 1:12 pm

this commentator sucks, get him off !!!!
good running rugby
so many missed try opportunities for toulon, hopefully we can get them home in Mayol tomorrow

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 1:37 pm

has to be some sort of record for balls dropped within 5m of the line.

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 4:43 pm

Jamais vu autant d'essais gaspills ^^ Et le commentateur est trop norme quoi ^^

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Von December 17, 2010 5:03 pm

I was at the game, it was excellent. Only two tries but quality not quantity will do me, plus all those nearlies for Toulon.

Don't know how Hodgson got away with taking Sackey's leg away when he was closing in on an absolute dead-cert try! I was right next to this and Sackey was doing his nut, as you can imagine.

But what really wound me up was D Armitage's outrageous football dive when he had to turn and catch someone and realised he wouldn't get there. Despicable. He's a good player, but he can keep that sort of shit OUT of the game of rugby.

I must say, I love the way the French commentators (and Toulon fans from what I heard the other day) seem to have taken King Jonny to their hearts. They seem to love him more over there than many English do these days!

Van Niekerk was immense in this game. Other standout performances in my opinion were Wulf, Wilko, Lovobolavu and Tagicakibau.

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bd December 17, 2010 5:10 pm

niekerk..nierkerk..niekerk...

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Von December 17, 2010 5:10 pm

3:08 for the Delon Armitage dive. I know nothing came of it but I'd like to see that kind of thing yellow-carded, cheating bar steward.

Also, just after that (same attack): how (or why!?) did Messina not score that try?!?!? I'm as incredulous as the commentator, although admittedly my voice doesn't go that high! Must have been harder NOT to score...

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D0m3 December 17, 2010 5:19 pm

The last action IS a try, isn't it?

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dutchrugbyplayer December 17, 2010 5:44 pm

A lot of almost tries. Looks like an exciting game.
And some impressive performances by individual players (niekerk and wilkinson for example).

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 7:48 pm

this game just shows how badly england have treated wilkinson. the guy is still clearly world class and we insist on playing a rather bland toby flood who hardly has his work cut out at leicester with all the talent around him. wilkinson may not be a flair player but he plays so well when he has them around him, big and athletic players who can play off him, not the dinosaurs like nick easter currently holding shirts in the england squad. you cant build a squad around one man but with england seeming to move toward a more fluid style, why not let jonny play the way he does for toulon rather than gameplanning him to focus around kicking. he wont be around for much longer but for now i cant see a better option, and flood isnt going anywhere. very sad to watch his talent wasted on the bench!

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 9:21 pm

Have to agree with comment above... if this is the way Wilko is playing then put him in the england squad and give him runners. Everyone in the world knows he can kick, but give him runners and let him play like this. I am not saying we will all of a sudden be the best in the world or something like that, but would be an England we could be proud of again and use the full ability of the new players, like the back three we have at the moment

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turducken December 17, 2010 9:55 pm

Wilkinson has been all but pissed on and thrown away by England. It's frustrating, to say the least.

I get that he was injured for the EYOTs (though I suspect he could've played if it was offered), so that's fine. But he got shafted in the mid-year tests, and I really just don't know what Johnson sees in Flood...

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secondfive December 18, 2010 12:13 am

Fun highlights, so many botched tries! At 3:14 the guy was already across the line and only needed to touch the ball down but he tried to pass off the ground instead, and at least three others are classic "how did they not score?" moments. My French isn't great but I kinda like the commentary, it reflects the astonishment and frustration that the Toulon coach and fans must have felt at times. And I agree with those who think JW is still the best pom first-five going round.

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Tommo December 18, 2010 10:21 am

Personally I think England is stuck between old and new......the staff can't quite retire that WC winning squad (or a handful of players in it) but they can't quite bring in new players......

It's a sort of 'let's stick with the old tried and tested....actually let's try new guys...actually no,yes,no,yes' etc....the problem is, it seems the old guys they're hanging onto aren't the 'great' ones and the new guys arent really sort of wanting it enough.... I mean French backs (on a good day) will take the ball anywhere on the pitch and run it as if the tryline is infront of them and there is no one in-between..... Whereas eng backs seem to wonder trip bumble and fumble then try and dodge their way around say 'south africa' and they get smashed...

In some ways I reckon NZ have taken the way France backs play to a new level, they dodge or leve the ball hanging after contact and pow someone cuts through the gap.....

England on the other hand......leave a lot to the imagination....

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Dub in Oz December 18, 2010 10:46 am

I've never seen someone pass while actually lying on the ground over the try line. wtf

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4LC4TR4Z December 19, 2010 9:18 am

That french commentator's voice is absolutely awful, even for a french, believe me.

It sounds like a muppet show puppet voice. :D

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katman December 22, 2010 7:58 am

Hectic game. Very entertaining. Wilko is better than anything England have at 10 by some distance. And Big Joe is playing some sublime rugby. Wouldn't mind seeing him make a Bok comeback, but we're kind of saturated with quality loose forwards right now. He'd be up against Spies and Alberts for eightman.

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Stag February 28, 2011 8:32 pm

this game looks realy intense, great pace of play, no wonder ball was spilled over try line so often. the comentator was only annoying because I cant speak french lol

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