Mon, Oct 21, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Cardiff down Cup holders Toulon, Irish sides on top

AFP, PARIS

Toulon left wing Rudi Wulf, center, tries to break a tackle from Cardiff’s Bradley Davies, second right, and Josh Navidi, right, in their European Cup match at Cardiff Arms Park in Wales on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

With only three minutes to go, substitute Gareth Davies scored a try just five minutes after coming on to give Cardiff a famous 19-15 win over champions Toulon in the European Cup on Saturday.

Toulon had led through most of the Pool 2 game, with Jonny Wilkinson kicking five penalties.

However, a Rhys Patchell penalty and three from Leigh Halfpenny had kept the Welsh hosts — who opened their campaign with a disappointing defeat by English side Exeter — in the game until the dramatic finale.

Toulon No. 8 Chris Masoe was at fault with a clumsy knock-on when under no pressure on his own 22.

Cardiff attacked from the resulting scrum, with center Owen Williams making a storming run that took him through several tackles before he went down five yards out.

The Blues recycled the ball quickly and Davies danced through two tacklers and then managed to go over Frederic Michalak’s shoulder before stretching out to touch the ball down over the line.

Halfpenny kicked the extras condemning Toulon to their first defeat in the competition since their final group game away to Montpellier last season.

Toulon’s defeat was the precursor for a bad day for French clubs as French champions Castres and 2011 French championship finalists Montpellier also went down to defeat to Leinster and Ulster respectively.

Castres were beaten 19-7 by three-time winners Leinster in Dublin, although they were well in contention to cause an upset until center Remi Lamerat was sin-binned in the 57th minute for a shoulder charge.

Leinster took advantage by scoring a try through prop Jack McGrath — playing in only his second game in the competition — which was converted by man-of-the-match Jimmy Gopperth to give them a 16-7 lead. Gopperth then added his fourth penalty to seal the win.

Ulster’s win — based largely around five penalties by South African scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar — was especially creditable as it was only their second win in France.

Another Irish province, Connacht, also won on Saturday as former Scottish international flyhalf Dan Parks kicked 23 points to keep his team’s qualification hopes alive with a 33-6 win at Italian side Zebre.

No. 8 George Naoupu and center Mata Fifita scored tries, while Parks kicked seven penalties and a conversion for Connacht.

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