Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Perpignan advanced to the semi final of the Heineken Cup as they came from behind to beat Toulon 29-25 in front of a packed Olympic Stadium in Barcelona on Saturday.
The first half had been a stalemate for the most part, with a few penalties exchanged amidst the cauldron in Spain, with 55 000 fans looking on. Toulon scored the first try through George Smith, a charge down which took them into a 11-6 halftime lead.
Perpignan took the lead ten minutes into the second though with a fantastic try to winger Adriend Plante following a rolling maul. Visiting captain Joe Van Niekerk then scored a try for his side as they hit back from the restart to regain the lead.
Jerome Porical took control of matters though as he kicked Perpignan into the lead, before a Perry Freshwater try from close range made the gap too big for Toulon to pull back, despite a try on fulltime by Fabien Cibray.
The game ended with Porical picking up a personal tally of 19 points, and a successful outing for the Catalan side, who produced when they needed it most.
"We fulfilled our dream of introducing rugby to Barcelona. There was a big investment by both sides. For that reason we had to win this match," coach Jacques Brunel said.
"We tried not to be overawed by the occasion, but we were weak at the beginning of the match and practically all the first half, but to our credit we knew how to channel our energies in the second half."
Toulon manager Philippe Saint-Andre said that they couldnt complain about the loss.
"Congratulations to Perpignan. They did not concede a single penalty between the 33rd and the 72nd minutes. As far as we are concerned, we lacked discipline," he said.