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Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Sunday, 23 May 2010 13:43 UK

Cardiff Blues v Toulon as it happened


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By Bryn Palmer

1615: Thanks for your company folks on a historic day for Welsh rugby. Sure there'll be a few pastis drunk in Marseille tonight, and a few pints of Brains sunk in Cardiff. Enjoy.

john on 606: "Fair play the Blues were amazing today! It was nice to see a Welsh team with so much passion with their backs against the ropes in the first half to show good defence and come through in the second half - was impressive against 18.5 million euros of talent!"

welshmaninspain on 606: "Well done the Blues, you have done Wales Proud !!! Freedom of Llanelli is yours, free beer no doubt."

An added bonus for Welsh rugby in the Blues' victory is that the Scarlets will claim the final Heineken Cup place for next season. Gloucester, who would have taken it if Toulon had won, go into the Challenge Cup instead.

Cardiff Blues flanker Martyn Williams: "It hasn't sunk in yet. It was an unbelievable atmosphere and a wonderful experience. We came up against a world-class side in their own backyard and it is one of those special moments."

Cardiff Blues coach Dai Young: "The first half we were hanging on by our toenails. But we had confidence that if we got the ball in the right areas, and went through the phases, the opportunities would come. We took them, and that is what it is all about. It is just another sign of how much we are moving forward as a region. I am really pleased for all the players. They have put all the hard work in and we are really going to enjoy tonight."

FULL-TIME: Jubilant Blues players are just about catching their breath after that thrilling finale. Make no mistake, they deserved that.


79 mins: Toulon running it from everywhere, but Blues keeping them pinned down in their own half.

Try graphic
77 mins: TRY BLUES 28-21 TOULON The pressure finally tells as Toulon exploit a huge overlap on the right and replacement Sourice crosses in the corner. Tom May is unable to convert though, leaving Blues with a seven-point cushion going into the final couple of minutes.

76 mins: Sonny Bill Williams, ball in one hand, is threatening again but Richie Rees makes the cover tackle.

74 mins: Joe van Niekerk escapes down the left, but it's Halfpenny this time who hauls down the flanker. All Toulon at the moment.

73 mins: Warburton and Tito force a penalty when May is isolated at a tackle. Toulon looking desperate now, Blues defence holding up well.

71 mins: Blues scramble well in defence to keep out Lovobalavu in the right corner. Rush and Roberts complete the clearing-up operation.

70 mins: Toulon sent on former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, 37 now and a member of their coaching staff, on to try to rally the beleagured troops for the last 10 minutes.

Try graphic
69 mins: TRY BLUES 28-16 TOULON Xavier Rush thunders into a few Toulon bodies, Laulala carries on the move and lock Bradley Davies ploughs over from close range. Blair adds the conversion and the Blue are 11 minutes away from glory.

68 mins: Strains of 'Bread of Heaven' echoing around the Stade Velodrome as the Blues fans sense a bit of history in the making.

Try graphic
65 mins: TRY BLUES 21-16 TOULON Great composure from the Blues as Laulala dances his way through, Xavier Rush produces a delicate overhead pass and Leigh Halfpenny dives over in the right corner. Blair narrowly off target with his conversion attempt.

62 mins: Sam Warburton is on in the Blues back row. The game is opening up a little bit now as both teams start to tire in the intense heat. Who will keep their cool in the Velodrome cauldron?

60 mins: PENALTY BLUES 16-16 TOULON Toulon are penalised for lying over the ball at a ruck and Ben Blair steps up to land another superb penalty. It's all square again going into the final quarter.

56 mins: Triple substitution for Toulon - Mignoni on at scrum-half for Henjak, Bruno on at hooker, Emmanuelli at prop. Scott Andrews on for Filise at lock for Blues.

54 mins: PENALTY BLUES 13-16 TOULON Toulon launch an attack from the left which ends with a knock-on. But with a dominant scrum they win a penalty and Tom May - stepping in for Wilkinson - slots the kick.

51 mins: As well as John Yapp on for Gethin Jenkins, the Blues have also brought on Gareth Williams at hooker and Paul Tito at lock.

Try graphic
49 mins: TRY BLUES 13-13 TOULON Blues take a quick free-kick from the scrum and Jamie Roberts and Molitika are both held up short. But the ball is recycled and Roberts dances his way over. Blair's conversion levels the scores and the complexion of the match has changed in a flash.

48 mins: Tom May goes to fly-half for Toulon and is immediately under the cosh, failing to clear his lines. The Blues force him to touch down behind his own goal-line, giving the visitors an attacking scrum 5m out.

46 mins: Drama at the Velodrome. Wilkinson fell to the ground in agony after taking the kick, with what appeared to be a back problem. After treament on the ground, he's being helped off.

45 mins: Wilkinson sets himself for a drop-goal but the Blues chasers are up quickly. The England fly-half launches another attack though and Blair is adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball forward as he intercepts a scoring pass. Wilkinson lines up the kick, but it goes narrowly wide.

44 mins: Sonny Bill Williams has certainly looked the class act in this final so far and his dancing feet and offloading skills are causing more problems for the Blues.

42 mins: Sweeney sends a teasing diagonal kick to the right corner which Sinzelle fails to deal with to give the Blues a line-out. But Rhys Thomas's throw to Molitika is ruled not straight. Disappointing.

41 mins: Ceri Sweeney gets us under way again at the Stade Velodrome. Sense the Blues need a strong start here.

INTERVAL: Bad news for the Blues. They have lost their captain, Wales prop Gethin Jenkins. More on that when we get it. Second half about to start in Marseille.


40 mins: With half-time approaching, Leigh Halfpenny lines up a near-60m penalty from inside the Blues half, but it falls narrowly wide.

Try graphic
36mins: TRY BLUES 6-13 TOULON Toulon's pressure finally pays off as Kiwi centre Sonny Bill Williams - who has been offered a contract by the New Zealand Rugby Union - steps inside three Blues players off his left foot to touch down with nonchalant ease. Wilko slots the conversion, and Toulon are in the ascendancy.

BigTrevsBigMac on 606: "Toulon are playing as though they have swapped 3/4 of their side from the last game. I think they have butchered about 4 chances. Hang on, they have just scored!"

34 mins: The Blues launch a promising attack down the left but Sweeney's pass to Rhys Thomas sails into touch 10m out.

31 mins: PENALTY BLUES 6-6 TOULON Toulon force Blues to concede a penalty from the ruck and Wilkinson sends another sweet strike arrowing between the posts. Deserved reward on the balance of play.

30 mins: Blues have an opportunity to counter but Laulala gives Halfpenny a hospital pass and the Wales wing is crunched by three Toulon tacklers.

27 mins: Wilkinson and Sonny Bill Willliams starting to make inroads into the Blues defence, but the Welsh region holding firm for the moment. Jamie Roberts almost escapes after picking up a loose pass, but is hauled down.

24 mins: This is a record crowd for a Challenge Cup final by the way - smashing the previous best of just under 32,000 for the Montferrand (now Clermont) v Bourgoin final in 1999.

22 mins: PENALTY BLUES 6-3 TOULON After a half-break from Casey Laulala, Toulon concede a penalty when May is adjudged not to have rolled away after tackling Martyn Williams. Ben Blair smacks it over to put the Blues back in the lead.

20 mins: Toulon try to counter with long passes from Wilko and his old Newcastle team-mate Tom May, but Lovobalavu's pass to Van Niekerk, who is clear down the right, is ruled forward. Another let-off for Blues.

18 mins: Swathes of red-clad Toulon fans doing a mass Mexican wave during a break in play. Atmos hotting up.

16 mins: Toulon break out after a good pass from Wilko but Lobbe delays his pass with men outside him and a knock-on brings the attack to a halt.

14 mins: Great pressure from the Blues, moving ball swiftly left then changing the point of attack to the right flank. But they are penalised at the ruck, and Toulon clear.

11 mins: PENALTY BLUES 3-3 TOULON Martyn Williams gets isolated and the Blues are pinged for diving in trying to help out at the tackle. Jonny Wilkinson steps up to slot a confident penalty

6 mins: PENALTY BLUES 3-0 TOULON Leigh Halfpenny lines up a 50m shot at goal and it comfortably sails over.

4 mins: Let-off for the Blues, who survived that early onslaught and cleared their lines. Attacking line-out on the Toulon 22, but Rhys Thomas's throw fails to find its target.

1400: Jonny Wilkinson kicks off. Explosive start. Sonny Bill Williams almost scores for Toulon after a tap-back from Lobbe from the kick-off.

1355: Quick reminder of the two teams before we start:
Toulon: C Marienval; G Lovobalavu, T May, SB Williams, J Sinzelle; J Wilkinson, M Henjak (capt); S Taumoepeau, P Fitzgerald, D Kubriashvili, E Lozada, R Skeate, J van Niekerk, J Fernandez Lobbe, F Auelua.

Replacements: S Bruno, L Emmanuelli, T Ryan, J Suta, O Sourice, M Kefu, P Mignoni, T Umaga.

Blues: B Blair; L Halfpenny, C Laulala, J Roberts, C Czekaj; C Sweeney, R Rees; G Jenkins (capt), R Thomas, T Filise, D Jones, B Davies, M Molitika, M Williams, X Rush.

Replacements: G Williams, J Yapp, S Andrews, P Tito, S Warburton, D Allinson, D Flanagan, D Hewitt.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

BigTrevsBigMac on 606: "The Blues need parity up front and I think they will struggle at scrum time. The Blues offloading game will also have to be spot on".

1345: It's a hot one in Marseille, around 30 degrees apparently. Our man in Marseille, Bruce Pope, is soaking up the atmos. "A sea of red and black Toulon colours are displayed in the sunshine outside the Stade Velodrome, with tiny pockets of blue where Welsh fans picked their way through the gaps.

Horns and drums add to the Toulon chants and the air is heavy with the smell of grilling meat, especially merguez - the spicy north African sausages so popular in Marseille. And frites of course, always the chips."

1340: Bonjour, Bore da, and bienvenue to our coverage of this year's Amlin Challenge Cup final. It may not have the glamour of the Heineken Cup, but European rugby's 'second-tier' tournament does not lack for stardust. In front of 55,000-plus at Marseille's Stade Velodrome, we've got Jonny Wilkinson, Joe van Niekerk and Juan Fernandez Lobbe for Toulon. Plus a host of Welsh stars for the Blues - Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny, Gethin Jenkins - and a one-man Kiwi wrecking ball in Xavier Rush. Should be a cracker.

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see also
Cardiff Blues 28-21 Toulon
23 May 10 |  Welsh
Rugby union on the BBC
05 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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