French bliss

Tou good to be true for glory Gun­ners

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Sport - David Kelso

Toulon .......................... 17 Ed­in­burgh ................... 28 Ed­in­burgh coach Richard Cock­er­ill has told his Euro he­roes to earn a con­ti­nen­tal quar­ter-fi­nal at Mur­ray­field.

The Gun­ners pro­duced their great­est ever Cham­pi­ons Cup dis­play in France to com­plete a re­mark­able dou­ble over the tour­na­ment’s big spenders.

And the clear-cut tri­umph at Stade Felix Mayol took them to the brink of claim­ing a place in the last eight for only the sec­ond time.

Any­thing other than a heavy loss to Mont­pel­lier at Mur­ray­field on Fri­day will crown them pool win­ners – though they may have the safety net of go­ing through as one of the best run­ners-up.

Cock­eri ll said: “We have given our­selves a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals but we want to do even more. The aim now is not only to get through but we are de­ter­mined to beat Mont­pel­lier on Fri­day to earn a home tie.

“I’m so proud of what the guys have achieved with this re­sult and they should be proud of them­selves.

“We came with a plan, we stuck to it – and it worked.”

But the trav­el­ling fans feared the worst when Toulon surged ahead in un­der two min­utes.

They snubbed a penalty pot at the posts in favour of an at­tack­ing line-out. And the gam­ble paid in­stant div­i­dends when vet­eran hooker Guil­hem Guirado bur­rowed over.

Ed­in­burgh’s re­sponse was pos­i­tive as they earned a pres­sure penalty and Jaco van der Walt’s 35-me­tre ef­fort was bang on to ease the jit­ters.

They kept up the mo­men­tum and cre­ated a su­perb touch­down on the half- hour. James Ritchie lured two mark­ers be­fore send­ing winger Darcy Gra­ham over in the cor­ner.

Toulon then fired back by claim­ing a sec­ond try through Fa­cundo Isa, goaled by An­thony Bel­leau.

The Gun­ners con­tin­ued to win plenty of pos­ses­sion in the build up to the in­ter­val but couldn’t add to their tally.

Ed­in­burgh kept up the pace after the restart only for a se­ries of han­dling er­rors to let the French off the hook. But then came a mo­ment of magic.

Van der Walt’s del­i­cate chip was per­fectly weighted for Blair Kinghorn to scoop it up and plunge over.

And van der Walt fol­lowed up with the con­ver­sion from a wide an­gle – then clipped over a short-range penalty.

Ed­in­burgh ex­tended their ad­van­tage with an­other van der Walt penalty fol­lowed by a third try.

Bill Mata in­flicted the ini­tial dam­age be­fore send­ing Jimmy John­stone on a cruise to the line.

Pre­dictably, Toulon re­fused to buckle and All Black Ju­lian Savea gave them a glim­mer of hope late on.

OUI DID IT Kinghorn cel­e­brates vic­tory after van der Walt takes the fight to Bastareaud

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