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Wilko urges improvement despite win

Jonny Wilkinson is through to only his third Heineken Cup quarter-final in 16 years of European rugby after spearheading Toulon to a fifth successive win in Pool Six with a 45-25 triumph over Cardiff Blues.

Second-placed Montpellier have a mathematical chance to overtake their French rivals when they host them in the sixth and final pool round next weekend, but it would take a miracle for them to deny Toulon a likely home draw.

Toulon conceded three tries in the final 14 minutes, and Wilkinson - who was captain for the day - said: "The end of the game was disappointing. It doesn't matter if you're a little bit ahead or in a tight game. We let a few tackles go, we let them come through the line and, ultimately, they scored a few good tries. It's not the way we want to finish any game."

He added: "Cardiff started very well and we got caught a little bit cold with the try at the start. We picked up the pace, stuck together as a team and we built momentum and got a bit of a grip on it.

"We've got to congratulate ourselves for winning against a good team and getting to this stage, but there's work to do - this tournament is only going to get harder. I've seen this game for 16 years and I know the guys here are as good as any team I have played with."

It was a fifth successive defeat for the Blues, who were quarter-finalists last year, and they will end with a home clash against fellow strugglers Sale Sharks next weekend to try to salvage something from this season's campaign.

They were severely disrupted coming into the game, losing Wales lock Bradley Davies with an ankle injury that will require surgery this week, centre Gavin Evans with a back spasm just before the game and utility back Jason Tovey because his dog chewed up his passport.

"We expected a tough, open game and we knew the conditions would be perfect for fast, flowing rugby," said Blues head coach Phil Davies. "That's exactly what happened. We coped well at times but, on other occasions, it was just too much pressure for us and that's when Toulon scored.

"But you have to give some credit to our players for getting four tries. That bonus point out here, and from such a young team, was very satisfying

"The average age of our squad is 23. We have a lot of young players, but also strong characters. We want to finish the competition on a high note at home in round six, and that will be our only focus over the next week."


From Belfast Telegraph