Menu allblacks.com

News

Wilkinson boots Toulon into Cup final

Getty Images

Sportal.co.nz     27 Apr 2014     Getty Images

The former England first five-eighths starred as the French side sealed the 2013 title and was instrumental once again in ensuring Toulon's place in this year's showpiece.

Wilkinson, who is widely expected to retire at the end of the season, kicked all but three of Toulon's points at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, with Simon Zebo's second-half try for Munster proving in vain.

Toulon will now face Saracens, who hammered Clermont Auvergne 46-6 on Saturday, in the final at the Millennium Stadium on May 24.

The defending champions opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a Wilkinson penalty, but Munster first five-eighths Ian Keatley responded in kind almost immediately. 

Wilkinson put over two further kicks to give his side a 9-3 lead midway through the first half, although Munster were given a boost when Juan Martinez Fernandez Lobbe was sin-binned in the 28th minute, the Toulon flanker having been adjudged to have made contact with the head of Conor Murray at a ruck.

Keatley converted the resulting penalty, but the Irish side failed to capitalise on their brief numerical advantage.

Instead, it was Toulon that took control. Wilkinson slotted over a drop goal and another penalty either side of a three-pointer from Keatley, before full-back Delon Armitage split the uprights from inside his own half to put Bernard Laporte's men 18-9 ahead at the interval.

Winger Zebo reduced Toulon's lead to two points as he crashed over in the corner after 52 minutes, but the tide turned back in Toulon's favour 11 minutes later when Munster's Keith Earls was sent to the sin bin for an off-the-ball tackle on David Smith.

That allowed Wilkinson to establish further breathing space with his fifth penalty, and the 34-year-old added a sixth with one minute remaining to ensure a return to the final for Toulon.