Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Toulon send Munster packing after big performance at home

It was a historic day at the Stade Felix Mayol on Sunday as Toulon beat Munster 32-16, reaching the knock out stages in their first competition, while Munster failed to qualify for the European Cup quarter finals for the first time in 13 years.

The highly anticipated clash lived up to expectations as the home side, backed by their typically pumped up fans, managed to outplay Munster with a brand of rugby that blew away the visitors, not allowing them to ever really get in the game.

Christian Loamanu and Paul Sackey both scored good tries in the first half, while Jonny Wilkinson scored 22 points with some excellent goal kicking, punishing Munster for their indiscretions.

At 29-9 up at half time, there seemed to be no way back for Munster, despite scoring a consolation try through David Wallace late in the game. Yellow cards for Donnacha O’Callaghan and Ronan O’Gara, both for indiscipline, didn’t help their cause.

"We have been round the block but Toulon were far superior, packed with great players and full of leaders. They did the simple things well and you can't keep on giving penalties away when Jonny is around," said Paul O’Connell.

After years of building things now seem to be coming together for Toulon as this mix and match side, led impeccably by captain Joe Van Niekerk, are now reaching the kind of heights that were all part of the master plan. Stars have come and gone, but right now they’re capable of playing the kind of rugby that on any given day can upset the best on offer.

Wilkinson’s form has naturally brought up the usual questions regarding England selection and World Cup prospects, but for now he’s totally focused on Toulon.

"Rugby is lived here, it becomes a very special part of you, almost as if it's part of your family. You might have thought that would be the way at every club. But it's not. And that's given me real fulfilment and pleasure. It's made my life quite exceptional," said Wilkinson.

"Of course I'll always give what I can to the England cause. But my place there needs to be merited. And for that to be the case then I have to be doing what I'm doing here because it makes me the person and the player I am. If England fits, it will be," he added.

Fellow Englishman Paul Sackey has also stated that he's happy at Toulon, and plans to play out the next few years there, probably never returning to club rugby in England. Read more about what he said in a recent interview here.

The following highlights are in French, as the game was hosted there and in general, it seems as though some of you enjoy it just as much as English commentary. Please also note that we've still got tickets to give away for games next weekend. Find out more and enter here.

Time: 05:46



  • reminds me of the edinburgh atmosphere ;)

    By Anonymous alasdair, at January 18, 2011 11:51 am  

  • First... Time munster havent qualified in 12 years. The Heineken wont be the same without
    "Mr. Europe" in the competition.

    Munster were way to sloppy, really uncharacteristic of Munster. This sloppyness has been present in all their group games in the HC this season excluding the demolition of Toulon at Thomond. If only they played like they did in the last 20 mins for the full 80.

    Don't worry guys, Leinster will obliterate this fella's for you - we'll do the avenging for a change!!

    By Anonymous BigBucks, at January 18, 2011 11:58 am  

  • Paul Sackey is looking in good form, right before the world cup... Unfortunate for him that there are lots of great English wingers at the moment. Toulon looks to be a terrifying place to go and play. Such a huge home advantage having a crowd like that

    By Blogger RedYeti, at January 18, 2011 12:05 pm  

  • i'm supporting Racing but i must say that the atmosphear in Mayol is always very special.

    i was sceptic by toulon performances, but since few months this team really begins to have some heart.
    some will say that munster was floppy or in a bad day, but i've read some irish news saying that toulon "money-interested" mercenaries will be trashed.
    Well, Toulon answered in the best manner with a great piece of tackles and conquest.
    Munster have to reinvent theirselves and give the key to new generations

    ps: it was the only highlights that u couldn't find in english. it just reinforce what i was thinkin about Sky..

    By Anonymous Colombes, at January 18, 2011 12:14 pm  

  • what a bad camra angle for the run down the right ahaha... literally someone was running with the camra like a madman

    By Anonymous brian, at January 18, 2011 12:20 pm  

  • You know rugby is in a bad place when people get excited about a crowd of 13,000.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 12:21 pm  

  • @BigBucks:
    Munster isn't Mr Europe, Toulouse is.
    And they'll show it again this year.

    By Anonymous ToulouseFan, at January 18, 2011 12:40 pm  

  • Paul Warwick does bloody well to get out of the in goal area on 2.30.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 12:47 pm  

  • Yeah Toulouse are Mr. Europe non?

    By Blogger Alexander, at January 18, 2011 1:11 pm  

  • "Rugby is lived here, it becomes a very special part of you, almost as if it's part of your family. You might have thought that would be the way at every club. But it's not. And that's given me real fulfilment and pleasure. It's made my life quite exceptional," said Wilkinson.

    The best testimony we could find to show all the haters that Toulon is definitely not a "full of cash mercenaries club", but a real family

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 1:17 pm  

  • to BigBucks,

    Munster are "Mr europe"?
    true, a very good team, constant with 2 titles (2006,2008)

    oh such like:
    Leicester (2001, 2002)
    oh and Wasps also (2004, 2007)
    and i don't talk about toulouse with their 4 titles (1996, 2003, 2005, 2010)

    I really wonder where do u come from mister.. munster? :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 1:53 pm  

  • to anon:

    It's not about the fact that 13 000 people were watching. It's about how those people really live rugby, and create that kind of atmosfere. I live in Portugal. Rugby isnt big here, but some of the best days of my life were when playing at home with a packed stadium (of about 600 people, wich is a pretty uncommon thing here) with my friends and familly, who may be few, but the noise they make... tremendous atmosphere. Better than some football games in 40000 or 50000 capacity stadiums.

    By Anonymous Xavier, at January 18, 2011 1:56 pm  

  • ^ spot on

    By Anonymous Laz, at January 18, 2011 2:25 pm  

  • Mayol is a little stadium, but its 15.000 fans, on great days, definitely make more noise than the 60.000 of Marseille's Velodrome for a rugby match.

    I was in Mayol last sunday, and it was just a good crowd you can hear, not the Huge crowd of Mayol. Because it was quite not the same public than in Top 14.

    By Anonymous 4LC4TR4Z, at January 18, 2011 2:34 pm  

  • munster as mr. europe refers not just to the 2 wins, but the 2 runner up places, only beaten at home once in all those years and consistently making the quarter finals for the last 12 years. it doenst mean they are the only team in europe.

    the HC is important in the munster culture, it gave everyone a lot of joy and re-invented rugby in ireland.

    on the day toulon were too good in defense, they were a team that everyone thought was only concerned about their bank account but in fairness they showed bottle. especially to bounce back after the hiding in thomond and repeat the same in france. well done toulon!

    By Anonymous Patron, at January 18, 2011 2:42 pm  

  • Most HC Appearances

    John Hayes Munster 98
    Ronan O'Gara Munster 96
    Peter Stringer Munster 89
    Anthony Foley Munster 86
    David Wallace Munster 84
    Shane Horgan Leinster 83
    Fabien Pelous Dax, Toulouse 81
    Martyn Williams Pontypridd, Cardiff, Cardiff Blues 79
    Alan Quinlan Munster 78
    Marcus Horan Munster 77

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 2:45 pm  

  • @ Patron : nobody in France dare to call Toulon players as mercenaries since our last year semi-final against Clermont.

    Now, the european clubs know why. :-D

    And, I think HCup brought a lot of money to Ireland and especially to Munster those last years. The TV money's so fresh than the IMF one ;-)

    Wish to host munstermen next year again. They are definitely not dead.

    By Anonymous 4LC4TR4Z, at January 18, 2011 3:05 pm  

  • This was the most hostile crowd I've ever seen munster play against. I wonder if they were put off by a fanbase as dedicated as their own but even more vocal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 3:32 pm  

  • to anon above,

    Toulon crowd is not hostile! passionate, latin, yes, but ask to munster fans, i'm pretty sure they were very well received.

    To BigBucks,

    Munster are a very good team but Hcup will continue to be the same with or without them :)

    By Anonymous Jean, at January 18, 2011 3:41 pm  

  • What's the crowd-haka thing at the beginning all about? Did the commentator call it the "pilou-pilou" or something?

    What a fantastic way to start again.

    What an awesome stadium and set of fans Toulon has. I want to go there!!

    Who's the Toulon scrum-half? He looked very handy. As did Sackey - love the way he took that try, where it looked like the move had come to absolutely zero.

    By Anonymous Von, at January 18, 2011 4:30 pm  

  • Great game from Toulon.

    It was quite physical but Van Niekerk and Mignoni (the Stringer french version, in slightly more annoying) were fantastic.

    Impressive to see that Comteponi played as the 10 while Wilko played center, that was a great move by St Andre. May be some food for thought for England (Flood/Wilko???).

    I am not a supporter of Toulon, and get regularly annoyed by their president, but as mentioned already by Alcatraz, categorising Toulon as a mercenary team is far from the truth, specially since the end of last year (and without referring to the history of this club).

    A lot mentioned the gap in salary between the French and the other NH leagues.....This is true but somehow a lot tend to forget (quite easely) the different in taxation.

    Overall Leinster remains my favorite (as long as they do not lose through injury too much players during the 6 nations) for the Hcup.

    Munster is a big team they will come back. As for being Mr Europe, well this is high debatable but I will conceed that the Red Army has probably the best Fan of Europe. While Lesceister have probably the most knowledgeable and respectful fan (hard for a French to say that ;-)). But for the most passionate and exuberant, Toulon might get the medal.

    Anyhow, all of this does not matter since Toulouse will win!!!!

    Allez le Stade.

    By Anonymous Flipje, at January 18, 2011 5:33 pm  

  • though im not a munster fan im very disappointed to see them out of the competition. It seems to be the future of rugby beating the past as a french team with only seven french players out of 23 beats an irish team with only five non irish players. Its worrying to see rugby go the way of football in my opinion where trophies can be bought with foreign players.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 5:51 pm  

  • Possibly the most bias commentators I've ever heard in a match, the minute sackey or wilko touched the ball they raised their voice and acted like England had just won the world cup. Fuck off Sky Sports it’s not our fault it’s the only channel we can watch the HCup live, in English! Also I believe they said (when Sackey stepped by on the wing Mafi) "Unbelievable footwork from Sackey"...Fuck off any winger in the world should of been able to out step Mafi in that much space!
    As for the match, yeah Munster really didn't seem to be at the races, Toulon pinned them back and over all, outperformed them but lost 3 out of 5 tbh even if they did win I don't think they would of deserved to go through. Now I was 8 the last time Munster didn't qualify but we can't expect teams to go through on previous records, that’s exactly what is happening with Irish selection (also with some other teams but I'm focusing in on the Irish squad) We see John Hayes, David Wallace, Rob Kearney, Gordan D'Arcy even Rory Best being chosen over fresh amazing talent based on what only seems to be past honours.
    For some reason people perceive teams and player to perform because of what they've won in the past. Munster looked like they had given up, like they settled and decided to concentrate on the Magners league. Although it'll be good for the Amlin if Munster get dropped in, provide some challenge for Stade.

    Rant over...

    By Anonymous The Other Conor, at January 18, 2011 6:05 pm  

  • So you don't like the English very much then? : )

    Was surprised by this result. But you give away pens and JW will bang them over all day long. I watched it and to be fair in terms of open play it looked quite even. Lots of silly mistakes from Munster and some terrible decision making let them down. Plus Toulon took their chances and their crowd was fantastic!!

    By Anonymous Rogerthecabinboy, at January 18, 2011 6:14 pm  

  • Colombes

    I didn't hear any predictions that Munster would thrash Toulon. In fact, all the Irish media seemed to say that the exact opposite would happen unless Munster improved on their performances. The media seemed quite pessimistic about Munster.

    As for the mercenary comment... fair enough.

    By Anonymous KG, at January 18, 2011 6:38 pm  

  • "@ Patron : nobody in France dare to call Toulon players as mercenaries since our last year semi-final against Clermont.

    Now, the european clubs know why. :-D"

    This makes no sense, linguistically or logically.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 6:43 pm  

  • agree, sky are so fucking biased. when they showed wilko first they spent about 5 minutes talking about him and then moved onto the english team for the next 5 minutes (this is before the match started). i don't know how many english players there were exactly, but i know there were tons more of irish players and plenty of players from across the globe yet english rugby and players was the most common subject of the commentators

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 6:46 pm  

  • Munster is Mr Europe. Munster is probably the most popular team in rugby. 12 Heineken cup quarter finals in a row speaks for itself, not even Toulouse have done that

    If this was football, Munster would be Manchester United, Toulouse would be Barcalona

    By Anonymous BigBucks, at January 18, 2011 6:51 pm  

  • I love Munster, but that was a great way to start a match and you've got to give it to Toulon.

    And they definitely didn't seem hostile - at least not the way Clermont or Toulouse fans do; the ones who just boo/hiss every decision that goes against their team. Knock on? Boo! Killing the ball? Boo! Hiss! No try? The referee must be an idiot!

    The fans in Toulon actually know their rugby - all 13,000 of them.

    BigBucks, I disagree that "sloppy" is "uncharacteristic" of Munster of late. They've been pretty disappointing and only a handful of players like Warwick, Stringer, Earls and O'Driscoll seem to give it their best each game.

    By Anonymous no rain in spain, at January 18, 2011 6:52 pm  

  • Disappointing campaign from Munster but they've been poor since the start of the 2009/2010 season. Whatever style of rugby Tony McGahan is favouring certainly isnt working for Munster. Tried to play too much rugby and score off first phase.
    Would like to see the rest of the season dedicated to bringing up new younger players and giving them experience. Munster's use of their academy is an embarrassment compared to the other provinces. They need experience now because after the world cup there'll be a few retirements. Shame Munster are out of the H Cup. Put it in the bitterness bank and use it in the future.

    By Anonymous MCB, at January 18, 2011 7:08 pm  

  • "Munster is Mr Europe. Munster is probably the most popular team in rugby. 12 Heineken cup quarter finals in a row speaks for itself, not even Toulouse have done that"

    We're clearly not here to have a Toulouse vs Munster fight but i don't get why 12 quarter finals would be better than 6 finals and 4 wins. Especially when the most titled team also has a much more difficult championship and plays each year the 2 competitions trying to win both.

    "If this was football, Munster would be Manchester United, Toulouse would be Barcalona"

    I agree, and i'll take that as i clearly prefer Barça ^^

    By Anonymous ToulouseFan, at January 18, 2011 7:23 pm  

  • The whole "Mr Munster" point is just stupid. Who gives a shit really? Anyone who has followed the HC for a while knows where each team lies. Toulose are clearly a quality side as their 4 HC wins show and Munster clearly aren't far behind.

    I'm Irish by the way

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 7:33 pm  

  • (Same anon as above by the way)

    Also, I'd say Leinster are favs to win it this year but you can never be sure. I'd say Leicester and Toulouse have just as good a chance. Northampton I'm not sure about. They're a great team but they had one of the easier HC pools. I'll wait until I see them beat one of the top teams before I start seeing them as having a real chance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 7:36 pm  

  • Meant the "Mr Europe" thing as well by the way.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 7:40 pm  

  • only 13,000! bloody hell they sure do make a hell of a lot of noise. Johnny Deserves to be playing for such a great team in such a fantastic place.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 8:27 pm  

  • this must surely be one of the best venues in the heinken cup

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 8:29 pm  

  • atmosphere wise

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 8:30 pm  

  • Haha - my statement was meant to outline Munsters dominance in the Heineken, not say other teams dont reach their potential. Sure we need another great team in the final to beat, such as in 2008 ;)

    Nah im messing Toulouse and Munster both amazing teams - Really hoping to see a Leinster Toulousain game - You'd need your toes and fingers to count the tries scored in that game

    By Anonymous BigBucks, at January 18, 2011 8:48 pm  

  • Really a quite incredible try by Wallace at the end, he had no space and 3 defenders to beat and he ran outside them and touched down in the corner, quite unheard of in rugby.

    By Anonymous Canadian content, at January 18, 2011 9:35 pm  

  • Also, a lot of people probably look at this as, as some have said, a "shame" - that Munster are out. But I think it might put perspective into the management and players. They've gotten away with a few too many sloppy and/or unconvincing wins this past year that this might be the kick in the pants they needed.

    By Anonymous no rain in spain, at January 18, 2011 9:59 pm  

  • Some bitter Munster fans commenting I see :)
    Shame, better buy more foreigners to keep up! Irish players just aren't doing it for you.

    Lovely play by Toulon. Say what you will about them, but not many of their 'big buys' are even first choice for their countries currently. Just the Argies probably. Great team spirit and amazing atmosphere.

    Mignoni heading for retirement is crazy. He was brilliant.

    By Anonymous Scotsdale, at January 18, 2011 10:13 pm  

  • There were around 11 Irish players in the 1st 15 (+ Warwick)... (and 12 in the team that won 45 - 15 earlier vs. Toulon).

    Scotsdale what's your team (club)?

    I don't see any bitter comments here to be honest by the way.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 11:14 pm  

  • I'll be interested to see how many of the Munster red army show up next weekend for the game against London Irish. I'll buy a bottle of Magner's this weekend to show my support!

    Hopefully a Leinster-Toulouse final on the way. A genuine heavyweight bout to look forward to.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2011 11:22 pm  

  • Well Scotsdale I seem to recall somewhere you being in touch with the old Scottish side of things......as a scot supporter myself it is somewhat painful to say this but: you're (we're) probably the last people on here to go around trash talking other nations home grown....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 19, 2011 2:51 am  

  • What did ROG and DOC do exactly?.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 19, 2011 2:52 am  

  • In fairness, DOC did stupidly block the runner so he had the yellow coming, but when the assistant said 'No' to a yellow for ROG, and Pearson forced the issue with him, and even then the assistant wasn't convinced... that annoyed me to no end. Whats the point of an assistant if you've got your own preconceptions and you're going to go through with them, regardless of what your assistant says?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 19, 2011 10:27 am  

  • Well you explained DOC but like I said before what dud ROG do?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 19, 2011 11:35 am  

  • ROG and Mignoni had a head to head discussion on the floor and on their feet....no punches given but probably more an exchange of opinion on the weather, meaning of life, may be how is life in Toulon....etc... Contepomi came to separate them, as apparantly he wanted the game to restart, which was not so appreciated by the rest of the Munster squad.....

    To be fair, it was the best collective action of the Munster team during this game.

    Saddely ROG got yellow carded wrongly to be honest (did not do more or less than Mignoni) BUT I believe not for the reason given above by anonymous' post. The assistant referee informed Pearson that ROG "pressured" (did not say punch) his fist on Mignoni face during their schuffle on the floor. No evidence of this on the replay......

    By Anonymous Flipje, at January 19, 2011 1:58 pm  

  • I was at the game and sat in the stand right infornt of the O'Gara incident. I saw it all.

    Mignoni was sort of bear hugging O'Gara's head in a ruck. O'Gara didn't like this so they had a mini wrestle after the ball had gone. Initially Mignoni was on top, no punches thrown, was more of just a tired struggle between them. Somehow O'Gara managed to get on top, and again no punches but he did hold a closed fist to Mignoni's cheek whilst having words. Should never have been a yellow in my opinion and i'm English and have no allegiance to either team. It did result after a while in both teams getting involved which made it look worse and may have prompted the ref to take some form of action. But i would have said a talking was enough.

    before anyone says anything, no I didn't get tickets just to watch JW, I live in France and a friend gave me a ticket. Not that there's anything wrong with it if I did : )

    By Anonymous Drew, at January 19, 2011 2:36 pm  

  • The fact that O'Connell was Munster's best player on the day after only 10min of professional rugby in 52 weeks says alot. How O'Callaghan gets away with being a 50 odd capped 2nd row is quiet staggering. Selection has to be looked at, Micko should've started anyway alongside POC, Hayes cost Munster 16 points and Stringer passed like a drunk parapalegic.

    Laurie Fisher was an average coach of an average Warratahs side and I couldn't believe it when Munster signed him. He needs to go and not be replaced by Mick (back to basics) Galwey. Its the basics that have killed them this year.

    And yet again Declan Kidney picks Hayes for 6N ahead of Buckley. Whatever Buckley's faults, McGahan and Kidney need their heads examined if they think Hayes is better than Buckley.

    OH and hold on to the bottle of cider, I'll be at the Irish game Sat, can't offload other ticket though.

    Great win for Toulon and a proper reminder for Munster that this result like someone above stated (getting by for ages playing poorly) was coming for awhile and some players aren't up to scratch and need to go NOW.

    Phew that was nice.

    By Anonymous Huh!! the 3rd, at January 19, 2011 5:40 pm  

  • Munster fan here - well done Toulon. The fans there seemed great, it seems like a great place to play with real fans.

    Munster have been poor for 2 years - our players are too old and the management have been too slow to bring in new young players. It is the end of an era for us. I hope the management are corageous and do some serious rebuilding so we can get back to the top in 3-4 years, but I am afraid they will be too conservative and we will stay poor.

    As for Toulon, great congratulations to you and good luck in the quarter finals.

    By Anonymous Mike, at January 19, 2011 7:35 pm  

  • Huh!!,

    I also tend to prefer seeing Buckley in the game instead of Hayes, but it's a strange truth that Hayes does handle scrums a lot better than Buckley. Maybe it's because he's short and staunch and Buckley is a house on two little legs waiting to fall over, but it seems that he can't scrummage nearly as well.

    But still, I'd rather see him start and Hayes come in if there's any problems - if only for the fact that Buckley is a battering ram and it takes multiple tacklers to stop him usually.

    By Anonymous no rain in spain, at January 20, 2011 12:58 pm  

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