James Haskell's wasp related banter


Southland sensational try after big bump


Cheslin Kolbe dazzling run, no look pass


Samu Manoa Huge Hit on Billy Twelvetrees


Catch up with MND sufferering Bok legend


Mike Brown's great try saving tackle


Learn more about incomparable Brad Thorn


Horwill & Bismarck Du Plessis slaps


Ben Funnell slamming tackle on Hawkins

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Toulon through to Challenge Cup final after nail-biting win over Stade Francais

Jonny Wilkinson kicked a last minute drop goal to secure an Amlin Challenge Cup final spot for Toulon as they beat Stade Francais 32-29 in an enjoyable semi final on Friday night. They will face Biarritz in the final after they beat Brive 19-0 in the other semi.

Toulon got off to an incredible start as Steffon Armitage scored down the left wing, but Stade Francais came back into the match through their young number ten Jules Plisson.

The Parisian side then led the game for most of the half, and scored a try in the second period through former Wallaby Morgan Turinui, who had George Smith as his centre partner on the night.

Wilkinson steered Toulon home though, picking up a personal tally of 27 points and kicking the decisive drop goal with time almost up and the scores tied at 29-29. The former England hero missed a few kicks on the night, attributing that to the conditions.

"It was very tricky out there with the wind. It was disappointing as well because had I put a couple of the other kicks over then maybe we might found ourselves with a lead," he said.

"As it was they just kept getting back into the game, playing brilliantly and forced us to go right to the end. It could have gone either way. I missed a couple off the tee and I thought with the drop goal at the end that if I miss this I might not go back into the changing room afterwards.

"I thought the guys deserved better than this after working so hard to get the penalties - I should have put a few more over. All you can do is keep fighting towards the end and keep trying to do the right thing. I was trying to think clearly about the process, of where I was on the field.

"I was thinking about what I was trying to go and getting the right contact and visualising in my mind what needed to be done to try to make it more said and done deal. You try to line the physical thing with what you put in your head before hand and thankfully that went well."

Highlights and clips of all the European action, and Super Rugby, will be featured throughout the week. Please get in touch if you'd like to contribute or request specific incidents.

Posted at 7:50 pm | 13 comments

Toulon score late try against Stade Francais

Jonny Wilkinson - The Real Story - Parts 5-8

Jonny Wilkinson - The Real Story - Parts 1-4

Posted in See it to Believe it

Viewing 13 comments

Number11 April 29, 2012 9:20 pm

good to see Alan Rowland make a good call on that tackle, need to avoid getting too critical on hits

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Antonio V April 29, 2012 10:03 pm

Again wilko always a legend :) but why the heck was georgie smith at inside centre for stade francais lol?

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cool calm and collected April 29, 2012 10:19 pm

Steffon Armitage is AWESOME! PACE and POWER what more could you want from your openside!
Perfect for taking on the big, beastly SA back rowers!
The only problem is where do put Robshaw? the current captain!

On current form I do not see any reason why Steffon Armitage will not make the lions team! its never too late.

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convey April 29, 2012 10:53 pm

warburton has the 7 jersey for the lions tour, although i think steffon should be on the squad

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stroudos April 30, 2012 11:07 am

Steffon Armitage is awesome. Every time I see the bloke he impresses me immensely. The only mistake on this clip was getting pinged for not releasing and that in my opinion was not his fault - you make a break like that and it's up to your team-mates to get up and support. He's almost Caucau-esque in his deceptive speed for someone with such stocky build. I only hope his dickhead brother doesn't prove to be a distracting influence when he goes down to Toulon in the summer.

He is absolutely the type of natural openside that's currently missing from the England team. I hope Lancaster et al can find a way of getting him into that role. Would be a tough break for one of Robshaw, Wood or Croft, but surely having the best players in their best positions takes priority. And any of those three can make a decent contribution from the bench anyway.

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thunor April 30, 2012 1:29 pm

You'd have to say that at present Armitage is in significantly better form than Robshaw and (inevitably) Wood. If you were solely looking at a form 7, I think you'd have to go for Armitage. However, displacing the emergent England captain seems extremely unlikely and possibly counter-productive.

So, hopefully he gets a place, but perhaps not starting.

Given his sevens pedigree, decent kicking and good handling skills, I think he could probably also play in the backs at outside centre too. Good to have that sort of flexibility.

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stroudos April 30, 2012 5:32 pm

Agree with all of that. Got to find a role for him one way or another though. The RFU would obviously have to make an exception to the rule on only picking players based in England, but I think he's well worth it.

Robshaw's arguably better at blindside anyway, but that's obviously tough on Wood and Croft especially who seemed to be getting back to his old form in the six nations. Ben Morgan has quickly installed himself as easily the best option at Number 8. Haskell coming back with a load of Super Rugby experience under his belt will be worth watching too.

The thing is none of the above represent a better choice at openside than Armitage.

Mind you, I must say I quite like the idea of a Steffon Armitage-Manu Tuilagi midfield!

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Nick April 30, 2012 11:47 am

A try of quivering beauty.

Transcendent commentary right there.

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stroudos April 30, 2012 4:18 pm

He's awesome isn't he. Quite possibly my favourite commentator, up there with the Aussies.

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TechnoMouse April 30, 2012 12:07 pm

"His majesty rises once again!" - quality commentary

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Pretzel May 01, 2012 3:32 am

Not that I personally believe that was a dangerous tackle, but I question how in the eyes of the IRB and the referee it was NOT deemed dangerous... I would have thought the player was in danger and got himself out of trouble by putting his arm down and therefore "risking a nasty shoulder injury"...

Unless of course the IRB has attempted to step backwards and revoke some of their "soft" decisions. Also enjoyed seeing the use of the boot in the ruck!

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DBRowan May 01, 2012 3:00 pm

Pretzel, the tackler made sure that the tackled players legs went back down to 180 degrees and then brought the player to ground with him. This is perfectly within the laws of the game. If he had continued to raise the players legs, or dropped him (or both a la Warburton on Clerc) then it is in the law book, a straight red card. As it is, the tackle was made within the interpretations of the law.

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Pretzel May 02, 2012 7:26 am

I like your faith in the tackler, however to me it looks like the scrum half causes the tackle to end up horizontal by putting his arm down (along with the support of his team mate).

Again, I must reiterate that I have no desire whatsoever to see this sort of tackle penalised/punished etc, however I am merely stating that it is surprising that it was not pinged. However I suppose incidents on the pitch are judged by what happens not "what could have happened!"

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