Edinburgh close in on last eight with victory in Toulon

Richard Cockerill’s team on the brink after earning memorable win in Stade Mayol

Edinburgh fullback Blair Kinghorn celebrates after beating Toulon at the Mayol stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

Edinburgh fullback Blair Kinghorn celebrates after beating Toulon at the Mayol stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Toulon 17 Edinburgh 28

Edinburgh remain on course for their first Champions Cup quarter-final appearance since 2012, beating Toulon 28-17 to become only the third team to win at Stade Felix Mayol in the competition.

Richard Cockerill’s side hit back after conceding a try in the second minute of the game and dominated territory and possession throughout to make it four wins in a row and set up a winner-takes-all sixth round clash in the Scottish capital with Montpellier.

Cockerill had challenged his players to make a piece of history by becoming the first Scottish team to win at Stade Mayol and a stunning second-half display earned them only their third victory on French soil in 18 games.

It took three-time champions Toulon, who still had a mathematical chance of making the quarter-finals, less than two minutes to flex their muscles and power French skipper Guilhem Guirado over the line for a try that had its origins in a poor kick-off reception from the visitors.

To their credit, the Edinburgh players erased that nightmare opening from their minds and got themselves back into the contest with a great try in the corner from the lively D’Arcy Graham.

Some great hands from flanker James Ritchie, who popped a pass out of the back door to his wing, created the space and Graham bounced off home fullback Mathieu Smaili as he powered his way to the line.

Neither of the opening scores were converted, but home outside half Anthony Belleau was able to add the extras to Toulon’s second try which regained the lead.

Argentinian backrow man Facundo Isa had played a key role in the opening score with a bulldozing charge and he picked up at the base of a ruck on the Edinburgh line to score.

Jaco van der Walt cut the deficit with the last kick of the half and Edinburgh started the second half as they ended the first by putting points on the board. A neat kick through by centre James Johnstone into the home 22 bounced up into the grateful arms of Blair Kinghorn and the fullback romped over.

Van der Walt added the extras and kicked two penalties to stretch the lead. Then came the vital third try from the visitors.

The stunning score in the 65th minute began in the Edinburgh 22 after Wales scrumhalf Rhys Webb had taken a trademark snipe from a quick tap penalty and led a charge into the red zone. When Mamuka Gorgodze knocked on, however, Kinghorn used the turn-over ball to lead the charge up field.

He found Fijian number eight Bill Mata and he powered his way up to halfway before throwing an incredible offload over his left shoulder to find the supporting Johnstone, who took the pass and raced to the posts for one of the tries of the season.

Van der Walt converted and it mattered little that former New Zealand wing Julian Savea touched down for his first European try after 72 minutes as it was too little too late for Toulon.

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