Toulon get off mark as Leinster fall away

Rugby ball (File)
Rugby ball (File)

Paris - Reigning champions Toulon gave themselves a European Champions Cup lifeline with a 24-9 win over Leinster on Sunday.

Having lost heavily 32-6 to Wasps in their opening Pool 5 clash, Toulon needed a win at home to keep themselves in the hunt against fellow three-time former winners Leinster, whose third defeat in a row now effectively all but ends their interest in the competition this year.

English flanker Steffon Armitage scored two tries as Toulon scrum-half Eric Escande kicked 14 points compared to just nine from the boot of Leinster flyhalf Jonathan Sexton.

Having lost their opening two group matches, Leinster knew anything other than victory would be a disaster and they started in determined fashion with Sexton kicking over two penalties in the first five minutes.

Toulon were quick to respond, though, when Matt Giteau chose to kick a penalty to the corner and the powerful French pack did the rest, winning their line-out and then driving Armitage over for a try that Escande converted.

But after Escande and Sexton exchanged penalties, Toulon could not make anything of a numerical advantage after Ireland prop Cian Healy was sin-binned, as a drab half of rugby ended 10-9 to the hosts.

Ireland lock Devin Toner was also yellow-carded early in the second period and this time Escande kicked two penalties to punish the ill-disciplined visitors.

There was still time for Escande to notch another penalty before Tom Denton stupidly picked up a third yellow card for Leinster with 30 seconds left.

Toulon kicked to the corner and Armitage drove through a ragged Irish defence for his second try.

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