Belfast Telegraph

Leigh Halfpenny kicks Toulon through with ease in Champions Cup

By Nick Purewal

Leigh Halfpenny kicked 13 points as Toulon booked a home Champions Cup quarter-final place with a comfortable 26-3 victory over Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets.

It was far from a vintage performance from the French side but they were still much too good for the Welsh region, who slipped to their fourth defeat in Pool Three.

Toulon were restricted to two tries for centre Mathieu Bastareaud and wing Bryan Habana, with full-back Halfpenny kicking three penalties and two conversions. Nicholas Sanchez also provides a drop goal. Scarlets' only points came from a Steve Shingler penalty.

Toulon will now play at home to English side Wasps in the quarter-final. Indeed, all four English clubs have booked places in this season's last eight and all of them will be away from home.

It is the first time since 1998 that four English clubs have made the quarter-finals.

Pool Four winners Bath, a place they clinched despite losing their opening two pool fixtures three months ago, will tackle three-time European champions Leinster in Dublin on the first weekend of April.

Aviva Premiership champions and current league leaders Northampton must travel to Clermont Auvergne after the Saints' hopes of a home draw vanished with their 32-8 loss against Racing Metro on Saturday.

Racing will host last season's European runners-up Saracens, who progressed among three best runners-up across five pools, despite losing their final Pool One encounter 18-6 against Clermont.

Saracens' superior pool stage points difference meant they qualified at the expense of Pool Four runners-up Toulouse.

Wasps will be the underdogs in Toulon and there will be an all-Aviva Premiership clash in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals, meanwhile, with Exeter hosting Newcastle.

Elsewhere, top seeds Gloucester will tackle Connacht at Kingsholm, while London Irish host Edinburgh and there is a Welsh derby between Newport Gwent Dragons and Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph