European Champions Cup: Scarlets 3-26 Toulon

Bryan Habana is halted
Bryan Habana is halted at Parc y Scarlets
Scarlets (3) 3
Pen: Shingler
Toulon (19) 26
Tries: Bastareaud, Habana Cons: Halfpenny 2 Pens: Halfpenny 3 Drop-goal: Sanchez

Holders Toulon clinically overpowered battling Scarlets in Pool 3 to continue their title defence.

The French club await the completion of round six on Sunday before discovering who they face in the quarter-finals.

Mathieu Bastareaud burst over for the visitors' first-half try and Bryan Habana followed after the break.

Wales' Leigh Halfpenny kicked 13 points and Nicholas Sanchez dropped a goal while Steven Shingler's penalty was all Scarlets could muster.

The Welsh region were already out of the running for the knock-out stages and were without six front rowers in Phil John, Rhodri Jones, Samson Lee, Kirby Myhill, Ken Owens and Emyr Phillips.

Mathieu Bastareaud takes on Scott Williams
Mathieu Bastareaud takes on Scott Williams

Even at full strength they would have struggled to contain the star-studded visitors.

Toulon's power and pace was evident in their brutal opening efforts and they dominated at the breakdowns throughout.

Open-side flanker Steffon Armitage was again at the forefront of Toulon's work in that area.

Despite their depleted front-row resources, Scarlets did not let Toulon's renowned pack have it all their own way in the set-piece.

But time and again - and particularly in the second period - Scarlets' promising attacks were thwarted as Armitage brought his significant influence to bear.

France centre Bastareaud went over after only three minutes to round off Toulon's blistering opening.

Halfpenny converted as his Wales full-back rival Liam Williams sat out the game because of injury.

Three penalties followed from Halfpenny before the break and Sanchez underlined Toulon's approach by calmly dropping a goal when no other options were available.

Bryan Habana touches down
Bryan Habana touches down

Steven Shingler's 29th-minute penalty turned out to be the home side's only crumb of comfort.

The visitors were, however, restricted to only one second-half score as Scarlets' intensity increased after the break.

Habana touched down midway through the third quarter and Halfpenny converted the game's last points.


Scarlets: Steven Shingler; Harry Robinson, Regan King, Scott Williams (capt), Hadleigh Parkes; Rhys Priestland, Aled Davies; Rob Evans, Ryan Elias, Peter Edwards, George Earle, Lewis Rawlins, Aaron Shingler, John Barclay, Rob McCusker.

Replacements: Darran Harris, Wyn Jones, Jacobie Adriaanse, Sion Bennett, Rory Pitman, Rhodri Williams, Josh Lewis, Kristian Phillips.

Toulon: Leigh Halfpenny; Drew Mitchell, Mathieu Bastareaud, Maxime Mermoz, Bryan Habana; Nicolas Sanchez, Sebastien Tillous-Borde; Xavier Chiocci, Guilhem Guirado, Carl Hayman (capt), Romain Taofifenua, Jocelino Suta, Juanne Smith, Steffon Armitage, Matemini Masoe.

Replacements: Jean-Charles Orioli, Alexandre Menini, Martin Castrogiovanni, Mamuka Gorgodze, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Rudolffe Wulf, Eric Escande, Bakkies Botha.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Tim Wigglesworth, Paul Dix (England)

Fourth official: Richard Hughes (Wales)

TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Citing commissioner: Paul Minto (Scotland)