Heineken Cup: Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson kicks Toulon into final
Last Updated: 27/04/14 7:08pm
Highlights of the Heineken Cup semi-final clash between Toulon and Munster.
Toulon moved a step closer to retaining the Heineken Cup with a 24-16 victory over Munster in Marseille, setting up a final showdown with Saracens on May 24.
Jonny Wilkinson's left boot was once again the architect of a Toulon triumph, the former England fly-half slotting over six penalties and a drop goal to contribute 21 points to his side's cause.
The other three were added by Delon Armitage, meaning the Top 14 leaders remain on track for a league and cup double.
Munster managed the only try of the contest through Simon Zebo, Ian Keatley adding the conversion to make it 18-16. However the sin-binning of Keith Earls just after an hour proved crucial, as they never managed to sneak in front.
Wilkinson and opposite number Keatley waged a kicking duel in the first half, the pair both landing three penalties apiece as defences stood firm.
However a drop goal from their No 10, as well as a long-range effort from Armitage in the closing minutes of the first half, put Toulon into an 18-9 lead at the break.
It would have been a greater advantage had Wilkinson not failed with a 24th-minute effort, though it was a rare miss in an otherwise impressive display from the World Cup winner.
He played his part in defence when his team found themselves down to 14 men, Argentinian flanker Juan Fernandez Lobbe seeing the yellow card of referee Wayne Barnes for making contact with Conor Murray's face as he came in at the side of a ruck.
The Toulon crowd voiced their disapproval as Keatley lined up and converted the resulting penalty. Tellingly though, Munster were unable to use their numerical advantage leading up to the interval.
Instead they gave further points away through penalties, Armitage's huge effort with the final kick of the half leaving the Irish province with much work to do.
Toulon looked like they had moved further clear during a pulsating start to the second half, Steffon Armitage seemingly scoring in the corner until the television match official spotted the flanker had put a foot into touch under pressure.
Zebo was the man to brilliantly get across and deny the former London Irish forward, but it seemed the roles had possibly been reversed when the Munster winger looked to finish off a blindside break by Murray.
Despite the possibility of using video technology to check the grounding with Armitage appearing to get his arm underneath the ball, referee Barnes awarded the score.
Keatley's successful conversion suddenly cut the gap down to two points, yet he couldn't put his team into the lead for the first time with a long-range penalty just before the hour mark.
Wilkinson made no such mistake off the tee soon after with Earls sent to the bin for tackling replacement David Smith when he wasn't in possession of the ball, and then put the final nail in Munster's coffin with an 80th-minute effort.
While Munster must lick their wounds after a fourth successive semi-final defeat in Europe's premier club competition, Toulon can being to prepare for a trip to Cardiff and an Anglo-French battle against a Sarries side that smashed Clermont on Saturday.