Challenge Cup - Wilkinson boots Toulon through

PA Sport - Sat, 10 Apr 22:15:00 2010

A majestic display from Jonny Wilkinson sent Toulon through to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup after a 38-12 win over Scarlets in the south of France.

Toulon's centre Jonny Wilkinson (R) kicks the ball - 0

The England World Cup winner landed 13 points to make it a miserable Saturday for Welsh sides in European competition, following the Ospreys' demise in San Sebastian.

Wilkinson was outstanding as Toulon ran in five tries, three in a rampant final eight minutes.

For the Scarlets, Wales and Lions fly-half Stephen Jones kicked four penalties, but there was little else to cheer for the travelling supporters.

The Scarlets had landed the tie in one of France's rugby hotbeds after finishing second in a Heineken Cup pool containing Leinster, London Irish and Brive.

And, cheered on by around 600 travelling fans, they started with plenty of vigour with 19-year-old scrum-half Tavis Knoyle charging at and brushing off Wilkinson of all people.

Typically, the England pivot picked himself up and landed the game's first points after nine minutes with a superb penalty strike from the touchline.

The Scarlets responded with a penalty from opposite number Stephen Jones, who then missed a far easier attempt to make it 6-3.

Hooker Phil Fitzgerald went close for Toulon after bursting away from a ruck, but the final pass found the arms of Jonathan Davies instead of a red jersey and it then needed a try-saving tackle from Kiwi centre Regan King on former Newcastle centre Tom May to deny the home side again.

The Scarlets moved ahead on 23 minutes with Jones rediscovering his accuracy with a long-range penalty.

However, the lead was short-lived, with Toulon bringing a partisan crowd to their feet with the game's opening try from right wing Clement Marienval, created by a quick tap from skipper Matt Henjak and brilliantly converted by Wilkinson.

There were some ominous signs for the Scarlets as Toulon's pack began to exert control and with Wilkinson in imperious form with the boot.

The fly-half extended the lead to 13-6 five minutes before the interval then added another penalty on the stroke of half-time.

The Scarlets needed a strong response, but the second period started in the worst possible fashion for the Welshmen.

There seemed little on when Marienval received a pass 35 metres out, but he showed a blistering turn of pace to chase his own kick, showing Scotland wing Sean Lamont a clean pair of heels on the way to the whitewash for his second try.

Two penalties from Jones reduced the arrears before some great work from King almost brought the Scarlets a try.

Toulon lost Marienval to the sin bin after 52 minutes, but the Scarlets failed to take advantage with Rob McCusker suffering a similar fate eight minutes later.

With the visitors tiring, Toulon ran in three tries in the last eight minutes through wing Jeremy Sinzelle, former rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams and the man of the match, flanker Olivier Missoup.

PA Sport

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