Habana scores as Toulon run riot

2015-01-17 19:59
Bryan Habana (AFP)

Paris - Springbok wing Bryan Habana scored a try as Toulon thrashed Ulster 60-22 in their European Champions Cup match at the Stade Mayol on Saturday.

While Habana was on song for the French and European champions, it was Steffon Armitage who stole the show with a hat-trick as Toulon turned on the power and style in becoming the first side to reach the European Champions Cup quarter-finals following the mauling of Ulster.

The reigning champions earned a bonus point after running in eight tries. Nicolas Sanchez, Mathieu Bastareaud, Martin Castrogiovanni and Mamuka Gorgodze were the other try-scorers.

Leigh Halfpenny kicked 20 points for the hosts while Ulster curiously managed an attacking bonus point with four tries of their own from Paddy Jackson, Mike McComish, Jared Payne and Lewis Stevenson.

Meanwhile, Leinster kept the Irish knock-out hopes alive as they racked up a bonus point from seven tries in their 50-8 win over sorry Castres.

The try-fest in Toulon - 12 in total - gave the hosts a five-point lead over Leicester, who got a bonus point in a 40-23 thrashing of Scarlets on Friday night, at the top of Pool 3.

As Toulon took five competition points compared to Leicester's four in the two games between the sides, the French champions cannot now be overtaken by the Tigers.

Leicester will need to win away to Ulster in their final group match next weekend, and probably with a bonus point too, if they are to join Toulon in the last eight.

Ulster came into the match knowing that only an unlikely upset would keep their faint hopes alive and for the first half hour, they remained in contention.

Toulon had raced into a 10-0 lead after Sanchez found a gap in the away defence to touch down under the posts, with Halfpenny converting and adding a penalty.

But a pair of tries from Jackson and McComish, either side of another penalty from British and Irish Lions star Halfpenny, left the score at 13-10 on the half hour mark.

But Springbok wing Habana finished off a sweeping backs move and burly centre Bastareaud burst through the defence before completing two full rolls to get over the tryline as Toulon turned the screw.

Halfpenny converted both and the champions led 27-10 at the break.

The bonus point try arrived on 49 minutes as Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni finished off a set five-metre line-out move down the blindside.

From then on, attacks were well on top as Armitage scored three, with Georgian flanker Gorgodze adding Toulon's other try.

Ulster may have been outclassed but Payne and Stevenson finished off well worked tries.

Leinster have a quarter-final place in their hands after securing the bonus point against Castres in the first half after Dave Kearney, Marty Moore, Eoin Reddan and Sean Cronin scored tries to give the Dubliners a 31-3 lead at the break.

Further second half scores from Tadhg Furlong, Darragh Fanning and Luke McGrath completed the rout as Ian Madigan kicked 15 points. Romain Martial scored Castres' consolation try.

Leinster likely will still need to beat Wasps, who travel to Harlequins on Sunday, in their final Pool 2 match to qualify for the knock-out stages, though they currently lead by five points.


In London Saracens were desperate to get a bonus point to boost their quarter-final chances - particularly given their final Pool A match is away to Clermont, who laboured to a 22-13 win at Sale.

But Sarries came up just short despite eliminating Munster with a 33-10 win at the Allianz Park.

They now trail Clermont, who had to survive a scare after having Wesley Fofana and Jamie Cudmore sin-binned in quick succession, by a point ahead of the final round of matches.

Owen Farrell kicked three first half penalties for Saracens, who otherwise focussed on the bonus point.

They had the game as good as won by the break leading 23-3 after wings Chris Wyles and Chris Ashton both dotted down.

Munster centre Denis Hurley scored a surprise try while prop James Cronin was in the sin bin but Saracens made the extra man count with seven minutes left as Ashton crossed for his second try.

At Sale, Clermont flyhalf Camille Lopez kicked 17 points and Fritz Lee scored a late try to finally break the hosts' resistance.

Sale scored a penalty try when in a numerical advantage while Danny Cipriani kicked their other points.

European Champions Cup results from fifth and penultimate round of pool matches on Saturday:

Pool 1

Saracens (ENG) 33 Munster (IRL) 10

Sale (ENG) 13 Clermont (FRA) 22

Pool 2

Leinster (IRL) 50 Castres (FRA) 8

Harlequins (ENG) 3 Wasps (ENG) 23

Pool 3

Toulon (FRA) 60 Ulster (IRL) 22

Played on Friday:

Pool 3

Leicester (ENG) 40 Scarlets (WAL) 23


Pool 4

Glasgow (SCO) v Montpellier (FRA) (15:00)

Toulouse (FRA) v Bath (ENG) (18:15)

Pool 5

Ospreys (WAL) v Northampton (ENG) (19:30)

Racing-Metro (FRA) v treviso (ITA) (20:30)


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