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Thursday, June 07, 2012

French Top 14 Semi Final highlights ahead of this weekend's Final

Toulouse and Toulon will meet in the Top 14 final this coming weekend after having got through their respective semi finals with wins over Castres and Clermont. While there weren't many tries on show, there was still plenty to talk about.

In the first of the two games Toulouse beat Castres 24-15 thanks in large to the boot of Luke McAlister, who kicked six penalties. Castres came close, as we saw in the video of Vincent Clercs trysaver on Max Evans earlier in the week, but Toulouse remain on course. 

They will be aiming to win back to back titles after the solid win, despite Castres throwing everything at them. There were plenty of physical exchanges with Chris Masoe in particular throwing his weight around, which included a knock out blow on Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir.

In the second semi final, which was far less entertaining but just as tight, Toulon pipped Clermont Auvergne 15-12 with a penalty from Jonny Wilkinson three minutes from time. Morgan Parra had an opportunity to tie the game with time up, but his kick dropped short by a matter of inches.

"It was a shame for Morgan Parra at the end. The penalty kick was right in front, but a little too long. It was a great match and an important result for us," Wilkinson told L'Equipe.

"Now we are in the final and we have to do everything we can to get the result that we want. Getting to the final is good, but if we win it, it would be phenomenal.

"Toulouse have a very experienced and powerful set of players and it will be another big challenge. We will have to prepare very well during the week, and then do all we can to stay in contention till the end of the match. We know it will be a big challenge, but that is why we play rugby."

Kick off in Paris on Saturday is at 18:00 local time. View highlights of both semi finals below.

Posted at 6:00 am | 19 comments

Vincent Clerc's incredible try saving tackle on Max Evans

Viewing 19 comments

Grumly June 07, 2012 7:22 am

I'll be there!! Amaziiiiiing. Parce que Toulon :D

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PortugueseRugbyPlaye June 07, 2012 8:54 am

can anybody explain why most of the toulon's players have strange looking hairstyles, almost like a hobo. (for the past 2 months) it's some bet? 'Props' to toulon e toulouse ! it will be a great final

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stroudos June 07, 2012 10:14 am

Jesus, how dangerous a ball-carrier is Chris Masoe? The bloke is an absolute monster. Don't really get how an experienced and awesome tackler like Dusautoir got himself into such a vulnerable tackling position (easy for me to say I know), but Masoe was at his destructive best throughout the game.

BTW who's the Castres #5? He was also smashing opposition players all over the park and making good carries.

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momo June 08, 2012 9:57 am

he is joe Tekori

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stroudos June 07, 2012 10:24 am

Memo to the BBC and Sky - can someone pass this on to the relevant people. Many thanks. :)

Please recruit the Canal+ producer / video editor to educate your guys on the appropriate amount of time to spend on kicks at goal in your highlights reels. ie start as the bloke begins his run-up, bang, did he score or not, cut.

Also, as beautifully demonstrated here, slow-motion replays are not for moody close-ups of a try-scorer's elated face, they're for illustrating, from as many angles as possible, the devastating impact of a monster smashing his way through a tackle or handing off a tackler with such power that he leaves the ground.

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Number11 June 07, 2012 11:02 am

was upset to see the semi-finals not feature a single try between them. running rugby is what we love the Top14 for and for there not to be a single try in 160 minutes of rugby i find frustrating. apart from Masoe's bulldozing runs and the great run from the Castres 13 there wasn't much conviction shown

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Number11 June 07, 2012 11:04 am

oh and i'm curious as to the ruling for high tackles. i thought they were deemed unworthy of yellow carding. can someone explain 2:54 on the Toulouse v Castres game then?

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Fettsack June 07, 2012 12:39 pm

Castres' #5 is Tekori, he's been huge in this semi-final.
There was a bit of a debate prior to this game because Tekori did not get banned for a previous incident against Montpellier, letting him take part in the semi-finals. Many people suggested that the citing commitee was biased, with the president of the federation being from Castres.

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stroudos June 08, 2012 1:49 pm

Thanks. He is a beast isn't he!

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jnfeehan June 07, 2012 3:13 pm

No tries in either semi??

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grumbo June 07, 2012 5:33 pm

well done to both teams, very surprised at the Clemont/Toulon result as i thought Toulon have been quite poor this year when you consider the names on the team-sheet. Must be tough for Clermont to have missed out on both finals in their centenary year.

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Reality June 07, 2012 5:34 pm

No tries in either of the matches? My God. If that's because of fatigue like all the French clubs say, then their plan to make the Rabo League teams play as many matches as the Top14 is obviously great news for European rugby. Maybe the Heineken Cup and Rabo will have zero tries in the semi-finals too.

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jnfeehan June 07, 2012 7:29 pm

Also note - Amlin challenge cup final - Toulon and Biarritz - No tries..

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Frenchie June 08, 2012 1:22 am

As said already these 2 semis were overall boring, the level of rugby was poor i thought. And i predict the final will be the same., remember last year final??? I don't know why but it seems that in the Top 14 teams decide to play a safe "wait and see" kind of rugby when there's pressure such as in the semi/final.
Else where teams in such situation decide to play a lot more rugby, they think that victory will come by attacking. Clearly in France we think defending is the key. Sad.

Personally i'm bored by Toulouse. I'll be cheering for Toulon.

Peace.

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richo June 08, 2012 4:01 am

how was that not a penalty try? the winger came from offside on their line and took the ball?

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Toulousain June 11, 2012 4:57 pm

No ruck was formed so technically he wasn't even offside, the supporting castres player tried to take the bal and was tackled, open play.

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Grumly June 08, 2012 1:41 pm

@Portuguese: Yes this is a bet.
Some players have the mohawk since the start of the season (Bastareaud and Armitage). They are like twins so Bastarocket change his color to blonde, then red.
Since, almost every week a player cut his hairs. Even the president did it.

We still hope to see Sir Jonny with a mohawk

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Portugues rugby Play June 09, 2012 8:38 am

@grumly thanks !

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