Cardiff Blues 19 Toulon 15: Sam Warburton given reason to stay in Cardiff as Jonny Wilkinson left kicking himself


At a time when French clubs are waving tempting cheques at top Welsh players, the unseating of Toulon in Cardiff Blues’ 19-15 win in the second round of the Heineken Cup was hailed with understandable euphoria.

The Wales coach, Warren Gatland, was yesterday reported as saying it would be “a terrible message to send” if Sam Warburton, the Blues flanker and national captain, followed Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate overseas. Warburton has declared publicly he would prefer to stay and occasions such as this at Cardiff Arms Park can surely do no harm.

Although Toulon are champions of Europe and joint leaders with Montpellier of the Top 14, they have won only one away match in six  attempts this season, with losses to Oyonnax, Castres and Grenoble, and a draw at Montpellier. Still, the Blues are now live contenders in Heineken Cup Pool Two, thanks in part to the fightback bonus point they salvaged in their otherwise troubling defeat at Exeter the previous week.

High among the joyous aspects for a team beaten in every Heineken match last season, including twice by Toulon, was the unlikely way the Blues’ winning try two minutes from time unfolded. Their pack held firm in a scrum to establish the position from which Cory Allen careered into the 22, and Gareth Davies – not the sashaying fly-half of the 1980s but a semi-professional 29-year-old fly-half with regional appearances in single figures – sniped and scrambled to the goal-line, leaving Jonny Wilkinson and Frédéric Michalak in his wake.

“I told the players we had to take responsibility for the first-half performance [at Exeter], not the coaches,” Warburton said. “We tried to get the front five counter-rucking a bit and spoiling the ball. Obviously Gethin [Jenkins, the Blues prop who played for Toulon last season] had a bit of  inside stuff and it was about the forwards fronting up physically. I don’t think we can get carried away, really. If someone said we’d have five points from two games and you didn’t know how it would come then you’d take that.”

Alex Cuthbert turned an ankle and needed crutches although the Wales wing was able to drive away from the Arms Park, where the artificial pitch – to the spectator’s eye, anyway – stood up brilliantly to the rain. Allen, a Wales Under-20 centre, is in the bracket of emerging players the regions must rely on if the star names keep leaving.

Wilkinson’s kicking has won many a match from the Côte d’Azur to Cardiff, where he played three, won three with England at the Millennium Stadium. But not this one. He had lost only one previous European or international match on Welsh soil and he warned of the consequences for Toulon if this muddled, low-risk performance was repeated.

“There’s not enough time left to waste days in this way,” Wilkinson said. “Cardiff deserved their win. For them it’s a great thing, but we’ve let ourselves down and we really need a good look at what’s going on individually and collectively. We’ve invested too much effort to let things like that happen too regularly. The odd error on top of another error, on top of  another error – compounding those faults gives the momentum to the  opposition. It’s all right to make mistakes but if you make too many against any team, you’re going to suffer.”

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm that there was a 'minor disturbance'

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album