Glasgow Warriors fall short in EPCR Challenge Cup bid

Three second-half tries from Glasgow Warriors were not enough to stop Toulon making it fifth time lucky with a 43-19 victory in the EPCR Challenge Cup final at the Aviva Stadium.

After four final defeats, the French side hit Glasgow for six with three tries in each half as they eased to victory to give retiring Italian number eight Sergio Parisse a title-winning send off.

Toulon were quickly into their stride and looked confident from the off as they chased their first Challenge Cup title at the venue where they won their first Heineken Champions Cup crown in 2013.

They lost Wales fly-half Dan Biggar with a head injury after only four minutes, then saw Australian centre Duncan Paia’Aua  go off for another HIA in the 32nd minute.

They also lost influential scrum-half Baptiste Serin in the final move of the opening 40 minutes with a left knee injury that required a third change to their starting back division.

There was a fourth alteration at the start o the second half when Mathieu Bastareaud came on to replace wing Gabin Villiers, who also failed an HIA.

By then, though, Serin has sparked his side into life with two tries as they sped into a 21-0 interval lead.

Baptiste Serin
Two tries from Baptiste Serin put Toulon in control (Brian Lawless/PA)

Toulon quickly recovered from the loss of Biggar and two minutes later, with Ihaia West on to replace the Welshman, Serin produced a moment of magic to get the scoreboard moving.

After taking the ball from a ruck on the Glasgow 22 he dabbed the ball through the defensive line, regathered and just managed to touch down despite the efforts of Ollie Smith to turn him on his back over the line.

The scrum half added the extras and then picked out 39-year-old Italian legend Sergio Parisse for a try at the posts after more pressure from the Top 14 outfit after Glasgow had lost a line-out.

Serin added the extras and then picked up the third try after 25 minutes. Glasgow lost another line out on their 10-metre line and Toulon skipper Charles Ollivon drove on.

Fijian centre Waisea Vuidravuwalu carried on strongly and when he was brought down on the line, Serin picked up and dotted down before adding a third conversion.

Kyle Steyn
Kyle Steyn scored two tries for Glasgow (Brian Lawless/PA)

Glasgow started the second half encouragingly, but their inability to turn pressure into points cost them dearly. It was not until their 11th incursion into the Toulon 22 that they managed to break their duck and that came via a try from skipper Kyle Steyn in the 55th minute from a neat moved down the blindside of a line-out.

Before then replacement scrum-half Benoit Paillaugue had added a penalty to extend the lead to 24 points. George Horne’s angled conversion of Steyn’s score gave Glasgow hope, but two more tries slammed the door shut as far as a comeback was concerned.

The Fijian duo of Jiuta Wainiqolo and Vuidravuwalu scored them and Paillaugue converted the latter to make it 36-7 with 16 minutes to go.

Glasgow earned some respectability with later tries from Sebastian Cancelliere and Steyn, but it was never going to be enough.

West scampered over for the final try with two minutes to go and Paillaugue kicked another conversion to complete the scoring.