Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Cardiff Blues became the first Welsh side to lift a European title as they beat French side Toulon 28-21 to win the Amlin Challenge Cup at Marseilles Stade Velodrome on Sunday.
It was Toulon who started off the better side though, with midfield maestro Sonny Bill Williams weaving his magic and crossing for the first try of the match, taking the home side to a 13-6 lead.
The Blues mounted a strong second half comeback as Toulon seemed to struggle to deal with the loss of flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson to what looked like a back injury.
Speared by talisman Xavier Rush, Cardiff worked hard for their tries as they worked their way down field then finished well from close range. Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny, and Bradley Davies all scored as they silenced the partisan home crowd.
The Blues victory is not only a great achievement for them, but it means that fellow Welsh side the Scarlets are now guaranteed Heineken Cup qualification.
Toulon were left contemplating what could have been as they missed out so narrowly on two major trophies in the last few weeks. The loss of Wilkinson certainly hampered their cause, and the question now remains if he will be available for England selection.
He will receive an x-ray tomorrow for what he suspects is just a back strain that he picked up when making a jinking run, not when taking contact.
"Things will be much clearer after the scan and x-ray. If it is a muscle strain, he should be fine to tour with England. If it is a cracked rib, the chances are it would rule him out but at the moment it is all speculation," said Toulon team manager Tom Whitford.
The Sonny Bill Williams hit is now included as a separate, short video for those who don't want to watch the whole highlights package. It's the second one here.