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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.

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