Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Toulon sweat on Wilkinson injury

Jonny Wilkinson had to go off with a hamstring injury (AP)

Toulon hope Jonny Wilkinson will be fit for their Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster following injury in their 29-14 victory over Leinster.

Wilkinson was forced off in the 28th minute after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury.

Reigning European champions Toulon went on to beat three-time cup winners Leinster in the quarter-final clash at Stade Felix Mayol and will face Munster or Marseille later this month for a place in the final.

Toulon assistant coach Pierre Mignoni said: "Jonny has aggravated the same hamstring as before but it did not look too serious.

"Hopefully he will be OK and back in one or two weeks but we have to wait and see."

Wilkinson kicked Toulon 6-0 ahead but a catalogue of handling errors allowed Leinster's Jimmy Gopperth to level by half-time.

However Xavier Chiocci and Drew Mitchell both scored second-half tries while Matt Giteau kicked 10 points to steer the holders through.

Delon Armitage also kicked a penalty while brother Steffon was named man of the match following a dynamic display.

Mignoni added: "We made a lot of handling mistakes in the first half that put ourselves into tight spots at times but we were still dominating the game and we knew that victory was in our reach.

"Of course we were disappointed to lose Jonny early but we always had confidence in the players available."

It was a disappointing climax to Heineken Cup rugby for Brian O'Driscoll, who will retire at the end of the season.

The Ireland and British Lions centre rarely managed to threaten amid the unrelenting power of Toulon.

Jordi Murphy grabbed a late try for Leinster but that was too late to rescue the irish side.

Head coach Matt O'Connor said: "We prepared well and I thought we were ready to put in a good performance but we made too many mistakes and you can't do that against a good team like Toulon, especially away from home.

"At 6-6 we were looking pretty comfortable. Toulon started well and we managed to hold in there for the first few minutes.

"It was pretty even at half-time but then we conceded 10 points very early.

"They grew in confidence that, the fans really got behind them and the momentum went their way.

"They have some big ball carriers who feed off each other and it was pretty unrelenting out there.

"We got ourselves back into it but we're disappointed with the performance as much as the result because we are a better team than that."

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