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Leinster given French lesson

Toulon 24 - Leinster 9

By Staff Reporter

Reigning champions Toulon got back to winning ways in the European Champions Cup and sent another triple winner Leinster out of the reckoning for another title with a 24-9 defeat at Stade Mayol.

The home side, chasing a fourth successive title, paraded their latest big name signing, All Black World Cup winner Ma'a Nonu, for the first time.

The visitors were given the perfect start when former England prop Matt Stevens collapsed the first scrum and Jonny Sexton hit the target from near the halfway line after three minutes and he doubled the lead soon after.

But after kicking into the right corner, Toulon turned a line-out take into an unstoppable driving maul which resulted in Steffon Armitage crossing for a try which Eric Escande converted.

Escande then kicked a penalty to make it 10-6, but Sexton replied to make it a one point game at the end of the opening half.

Escande added two more penalties to his tally to help Toulon move into a 16-9 lead.

And there was one more penalty from the boot of the scrum half in the 67th minute which cruelly took away from the visitors any hopes of salvaging a losing bonus point.

Replacement lock Tom Denton became the third Leinster forward to be shown a yellow card and no sooner had he gone off than Toulon scored another driving line-out try from Armitage.

There will be a 30,000-plus crowd at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin when the two teams meet again next weekend - but with only one point from three games there is little or no chance of the Irish province going any further.

Belfast Telegraph

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