European Rugby Champions Cup: Leinster 16-20 Toulon

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport
Toulon celebrate against Leinster
Toulon have been European champions for the past three seasons
European Rugby Champions Cup
Leinster (16) 16
Tries: Penalty try Pens: Sexton 3 Cons: Sexton
Toulon (5) 20
Tries: Smith, penalty try, Etrillard Cons: Taylor Pens: Taylor

Holders Toulon came from behind to inflict a fourth straight Champions Cup defeat on Leinster, whose slim hopes of reaching the quarter-finals were ended.

Three-time European champions Leinster held a 16-5 lead thanks to a penalty try and four Johnny Sexton kicks.

But Toulon earned their own penalty try, adding to Juan Smith's score, to cut the deficit to four points.

Anthony Etrillard went over and Tom Taylor kicked a penalty to win it for the French side.

The results means Toulon move up to second in Pool Five, level on points with third-placed Bath and trailing leaders Wasps by six points.

Leinster, meanwhile, remain bottom with two losing bonus points on the board and miss out on the knockout stages in Europe for only the second time in 12 years.

The Dubliners had lost 24-9 in the reverse fixture last week but were in control at half-time at the Aviva Stadium, with Sexton rediscovering his form with the boot to kick his team into an early lead.

Toulon lost Duane Vermeulen to the sin-bin after 12 minutes for an offside infringement, and soon Leinster were awarded a penalty try after the scrum was hauled down.

Match stats
11Defenders beaten12
12Tackles missed11

Smith crashed over for the visitors to make it 10-5 but fly-half Sexton kicked two penalties to give Leinster a healthy lead.

Toulon responded brilliantly in the second half and the Leinster defence finally gave way.

Referee Wayne Barnes awarded a penalty try to Toulon, which Taylor converted, and, with 15 minutes to go, a powerful drive ended with Etrillard touching down.

Taylor added a conversion and penalty, before Leinster lost Jordi Murphy to the sin-bin, and a knock-on denied Mamuka Gorgodze a late bonus point try at the death.


Leinster: R Kearney; D Kearney, Te'o, Fitzgerald, Nacewa (capt); Sexton, Reddan; McGrath, Strauss, Ross; Toner, McCarthy; Ruddock, Van der Flier, Heaslip.

Replacements: Moore for Ross (24), Madigan for Te'o (37), Cronin for Strauss (46), Healey for McGrath (46), Denton for M McCarthy (56), Kirchner for Sexton (66), Murphy for Heaslip (69), N McCarthy for Reddan (76).

Sin Bin: Murphy (76).

Toulon: D Armitage; Habana, Bastareaud, Nonu, Mitchell; Giteau, Escande; Fresia, Guirado, Stevens; Suta, Taofifenua; Smith, S Armitage, Vermeulen.

Replacements: Taylor for D. Armitage (46), Tillous-Borde for Escande (46), Chiocci for Fresia (46), Etrillard for Guirado (49), Chilachava for Stevens (46), Gorgodze for Suta (66), Mikautadze for Taofifenua (50), Fernandez Lobbe for J. Smith (56).

Sin Bin: Vermeulen (12).