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Clermont Auvergne

  • James, Vonowale-Nalaga,
    Penalty goals: Parra,
    Conversions: Parra,
15 - 16

Toulon

  • Armitage,
    Penalty goals: Wilkinson (3),
    Conversions: Wilkinson,
  • European Rugby Champions Cup
  • Final
  • 18th May 2013
  • KO 17:00
  • Ground: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Att: 51,142

Heineken Cup: Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon beat Clermont Auvergne 16-15 in thrilling final

By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK   Last updated: 18th May 2013  

Jonny Wilkinson Toulon Clermont Auvergne

Jonny Wilkinson kicked 11 points for Toulon

Naipolioni Nalaga Clermont Toulon Heineken Cup final

Naipolioni Nalaga touches down for Clermont's opening score

Toulon player Delon Armitage dives in for a try watched by Brock James of Clermont

Delon Armitage: Dives over for what proved to be the crucial try

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Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon staged a dramatic fightback to edge out French rivals Clermont Auvergne 16-15 in a thrilling Heineken Cup final in Dublin.

Favourites Clermont looked on course to complete a perfect European campaign as two tries in eight second-half minutes gave them a nine-point lead, but Wilkinson - who finished with 11 points - kept his side in touch and then kicked what proved the decisive conversion after fellow Englishman Delon Armitage went over 15 minutes from time.

Clermont made the ideal start as Morgan Parra kicked them ahead with a long-range penalty on two minutes, but Toulon were back on terms ten minutes later when Damien Chouly was caught on the wrong side at a ruck allowing Wilkinson a regulation penalty from in front of the posts.

A predictably physical and tight contest from the off, Clermont's slippery winger Sitiveni Sivivatu made the first break of note as he darted through on 21 minutes, but Toulon's scrambling defence recovered superbly and Clermont were eventually penalised.

As the half drew on, Clermont imposed themselves as the attacking force and made more line-breaks, notably through the impressive Wesley Fofana, but Toulon defended with both commitment and intelligence to keep them at bay.

Clermont stand-off Brock James came within a whisker of claiming the first try on 35 minutes, spotting space in behind after a Toulon attack had broken down, he chipped forward and beat Chris Masoe for pace to touch down his own kick but was denied as the video official confirmed the ball had run dead by a matter of inches.

Brilliant finish

Clearly in the ascendancy, Clermont maintained their momentum on the restart and were rewarded with the game's opening try, Nalaga - the tournament's top try-scorer - producing a quite brilliant finish down the left touchline after being set free by Aurelien Rougerie.

Parra missed the conversion from out wide and Toulon undid much of the damage as Wilkinson slotted his second penalty after a poor kick from James had allowed them the chance to set up a drive from a line-out.

But James more than atoned for his error moments later as he was on the shoulder of Rougerie, who collected the No 10's deft chip forward before offloading, allowing the Australian to race away to the line for his side's second try which Parra converted for a 15-6 lead.

Despite being outplayed for long spells, Toulon refused to lie down and somewhat incredibly were ahead by the 65th minute.

Wilkinson added his third penalty on the hour mark to get his men back within a converted try and then a superb piece of play by Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe at the breakdown released Armitage to race away and touch down unopposed - Wilkinson obliging with the conversion to put his side 16-15 up.

A frantic finale then ensued as Clermont desperately searched for a winning score, replacement David Skrela saw an attempted drop-goal charged down by Wilkinson and ultimately Toulon hung on for their first Heineken Cup triumph.

Forthcoming European Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
TimeFixture
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 5th December
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Montpellier vs Bath
Saturday 6th December
13:00Sale vs Saracens
17:30Munster vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Ulster vs Scarlets
13:00Benetton Treviso vs Northampton
15:15Ospreys vs Racing Metro 92
Sunday 7th December
13:00Castres vs Wasps
15:15Harlequins vs Leinster
17:30Leicester vs Toulon
15:15Toulouse vs Glasgow
Friday 12th December
19:45Bath vs Montpellier
Saturday 13th December
17:15Saracens vs Sale
19:45Leinster vs Harlequins
15:15Toulon vs Leicester
13:00Glasgow vs Toulouse
15:15Northampton vs Benetton Treviso
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Ospreys
Sunday 14th December
15:15Clermont Auvergne vs Munster
13:00Wasps vs Castres
17:15Scarlets vs Ulster
Saturday 17th January
TBCSaracens vs Munster
TBCSale vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCHarlequins vs Wasps
TBCLeinster vs Castres
TBCLeicester vs Scarlets

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