Heineken Cup: Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson sticks boot into Cardiff Blues
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 21/10/12 10:42pm
Jonny Wilkinson kicked 17 points as Toulon handed Cardiff Blues their second loss in Pool Six of the Heineken Cup.
Wilkinson's haul - consisting of five penalties and a conversion - was supplemented by a second-half try from Steffon Armitage as Toulon ran out 22-14 winners at Cardiff Arms Park.
Cardiff, looking to respond after last week's loss at Sale, scored the opening try inside two minutes after the ball was moved quickly from a scrum through the back division to Tom James on the left wing. James stretched his legs, drew his man and released Halfpenny on the inside for a run to the line.
Halfpenny failed with the conversion and Wilkinson soon showed him how it's done, landing a pair of penalties to move the French side 6-5 ahead after quarter-of-an-hour.
Cardiff suffered a further setback when outside centre Gavin Evans was stretchered off after slipping and taking an accidental blow to the face in a collision with Toulon full-back Delon Armitage.
Halfpenny's place kicking was erratic; he scuffed one penalty attempt after a lineout infringement, made amends just before half-time to give Cardiff a 9-8 advantage at the break and then slipped over and missed a third chance in the 51st minute.
A penalty exchange between Wilkinson and Halfpenny, albeit after again not making clean contact, meant the Blues held a one-point lead with less than 20 minutes remaining.
But Toulon struck the decisive blow in the 63rd minute, Matt Giteau setting up a close-range finish for Steffon Armitage after breaking the first line of defence with a show-and-go.
The conversion made it 19-11 to Toulon and Wilkinson answered a further penalty from Halfpenny to deny Cardiff even a bonus point.
Cardiff now have to break new ground to make the quarter-finals as no side has ever qualified after losing their opening two matches. Toulon sit top of Pool Six on nine points, although Sale can join them with a bonus-point success over Montpellier later on Sunday.