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Jonny puts Toulon into French rugby final

AAP
Saturday, May 17, 2014

Update: 7:20PM English talisman Jonny Wilkinson booted 11 points to guide Toulon into French rugby's Top 14 final with a hard-fought 16-6 victory over Racing-Metro on Friday at Lille's Grande Stade.

Australian Matt Giteau scored the only try of the game, in the 12th minute, with Wilkinson scoring the rest through a conversion, two penalties and a drop-goal.

Racing had just two Jonathan Sexton penalties, in the 15th and 31st minutes, to their name.

Toulon will play the winner of Saturday's second semi-final between Montpellier and Castres in the May 31 final at the Stade de France.

"I know very well that I'm very lucky to play two finals, to play for this club and in France, a tricky championship," said Wilkinson.

"It's a very great privilege to play a season like this and I hope to see more of them."

Racing centre Henry Chavancy was left ruing conceding the soft try.

"It wasn't very good for us mentally and, in the second half, Toulon dominated and that made the difference.

"We couldn't put our gameplan in place. We're obviously very disappointed. Now it's time to study what happened, then some goodbyes to many friends - it's complicated."

After a hard-hitting opening, the first try came after Springbok winger Bryan Habana was shoulder-charged into touch by Juan Imhoff chasing a ball down the line.

While Habana went sprawling, the ball stayed in play and veteran Giteau's keen follow-up paid off with a smart pick up to squirt over the line, Wilkinson making no mistake with the extras.

Ireland five-eighth Sexton responded almost immediately with a long-range penalty.

Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareuad was yellow-carded for a spear tackle, but Sexton was off target with his second penalty after a high Delon Armitage tackle.

Wilkinson then missed two long-range efforts as the game turned into a midfield arm-wrestle, Sexton pegging Toulon back with a successful penalty after returning 'Bok lock Bakkies Botha strayed offside.

Toulon easily weathered the predictable final storm by the Parisian club and will look forward in confident fashion to playing Montpellier or Castres to claim their first title since 1992.








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