Heineken Cup final 2014: Toulon v Saracens - Live coverage - The Independent

Heineken Cup final 2014: Toulon v Saracens



by Jack de Menezes
Welcome to The Independent's coverage of the Heineken Cup final between Toulon and Saracens, brought to you live from the Millennium Stadium.

The match sees Toulon aiming to win back-to-back Heineken Cup's, as Jonny Wilkinson will be bidding farewell to European rugby. For Saracens, they are entering new territory in their first ever European final.

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  • Welcome to The Independent's coverage of the Heineken Cup final between Toulon and Saracens, brought to you live from the Millennium Stadium.
    5/24/2014 3:17:40 PM
  • 5/24/2014 3:20:21 PM
  • Team line-ups:
    Toulon: 15. D. Armitage; 14. Mitchell, 13. Bastareaud, 12. Gitaeu, 11. Habana; 10. Wilkinson, 9. Tillous-Borde; 1. Chiocci, 2. Burden, 3. Hayma; 4. Botha, 5. Rossouw; 6. Smith, 7. Fernandez Lobbe, 8. S. Armitage
    Replacements: 16. Orioli, 17. Menini, 18. Castrogiovanni, 19. Williams, 20. Bruni, 21. Mermoz, 22. Classens, 23. Suta.
    Saracens: 15. Goode; 14. Ashton, 13. Bosch, 12. Barritt, 11. Strettle; 10. Farrell, Wigglesworth; 1. Vunipola, 2. Brits, 3. Stevens; 4. Borthwick, 5. Hargreaves; 6. Brown, 7. Burger, 8. Vunipola.
    Replacements: 16. George, 17. Barrington, 18. Johnston, 19. Botha, 20. Wray, 21. De Kock, 22. Hiodgson, 23. Wyles.
    5/24/2014 3:37:12 PM
  • One man has dominated the build-up to this evening's match, as Jonny Wilkinson will bid farewell to the European stage with his retirement coming at the end of the season.
    If it takes a serious man to win a serious piece of rugby silverware, there must be a very good chance that Jonathan Peter Wilkinson Esq will drive Toulon to a successful defence of their Heineken Cup title at the Millennium Stadium this evening – a feat so rare that only two genuinely great sides, the Leicester of Martin Johnson and the Leinster of Brian O’Driscoll, have ever achieved it. Wilkinson was at his most solemn and straight-faced as he weighed the prospects yesterday and if he has his way, the rest of the Côte d’Azur glitterati will be every bit as driven.
    To read more of Chris Hewett's preview, CLICK HERE.
    5/24/2014 3:39:02 PM
  • There were a few turning out to see the great man talk earlier today...


    5/24/2014 3:42:00 PM
  • Saracens fans in good force in Cardiff

    5/24/2014 3:43:23 PM
  • Pre-match thoughts on Twitter...

    5/24/2014 3:44:15 PM
  • Fans have already flooded into the Millennium Stadium with 15 minutes to go until kick-off. Who has impressed you more this season - Toulon or Saracens? Both will feature in their respective domestic league finals next week, but you can guarantee that won't be in their minds today.
    5/24/2014 3:46:04 PM
  • A few more goodbyes today. We'll get to the Saracens star saying his farewell shortly, but we lets take a look back at the Heineken Cup, which will cease to exist after today.
    Romania's oldest inhabited city, down on the Black Sea coast, was the unlikely setting for a rugby revolution: the first game in a ground-breaking tournament that so spooked the conservative diehards on the English and Scottish governing bodies that they would have no part of it. Before a crowd of 3,000 or so, Farul Constanta took on the pioneering European spirits of Toulouse and lost heavily – no surprise, given the presence of Émile Ntamack, Thomas Castaignède and Christophe Deylaud in the French champions' back line. Sadly, it was the end of something as well as the start. The Heineken Cup would be a Romania-free zone for the remainder of its existence.
    To read more of Chris Hewett's Heineken Cup memories, CLICK HERE.
    5/24/2014 3:49:03 PM
  • Warm-ups done with and the teams head in to complete their final preparations, with Saracens led by this man, Steve Borthwick.
    The former England captain will also retire at the end of the season. CLICK HERE to read more on the retiring second-row.
     
    5/24/2014 3:52:45 PM
  • Minutes to go till the teams emerge to a wall on noise and black and red. Will it be a second win for Toulon in as many years, or will Saracens make club history and land thier first European crown?
    5/24/2014 3:57:18 PM
  • Here come the teams, led by former England team-mates Wilkinson and Borthwick
    5/24/2014 3:59:56 PM
  • Wilkinson warms up with team-mate Giteau


    5/24/2014 4:00:26 PM
  • 1 min: Owen Farrell gets us underway!
    5/24/2014 4:01:21 PM
  • 1 min: It's a messy start for Toulon as Lobbe knocks it on immediately as he is hit by Ashton. Scrum inside the 22m for Sarries.
    5/24/2014 4:02:11 PM
  • 2 min: As is standard in Cardiff, the Millennium Stadium pitch is tearing up already after the first scrum. That's one for Vunipola as the England forward wins a penalty, and Saracens will have an early chance to take the lead.
    5/24/2014 4:03:49 PM
  • 3 mins: Farrell strikes it from the right and it's good. Saracens lead 0-3.
    5/24/2014 4:04:45 PM
  • 5/24/2014 4:04:48 PM
  • 4 mins: An equally as important error from Saracens at the restart, as Wigglesworth kicks the ball straight-out having taken the ball back into his 22m. Toulon with the ball.
    5/24/2014 4:06:00 PM
  • We've been here before, haven't we?

    5/24/2014 4:06:15 PM
  • 6 mins: Toulon attack hard and go through the phases (13 to be precise) but the famed Saracens defence wins a penalty within metres of their line and Farrell will clear the lines.
    5/24/2014 4:08:01 PM
  • 7 mins: Farrell misses touch though and the errors are mounting up. Rossouw gets caught running with his eyes off the ball and Saracens are awarded a scrum in centre-field.
    5/24/2014 4:09:27 PM
  • 9 mins: Well, it lasted nine minutes, but we now have our first triple reset at the scrum.
    5/24/2014 4:10:47 PM
  • 9 mins: And the result is a penalty to Saracens with Chiocci penalised by referee Allain Roland. Farrell nudges the ball into the Toulon half.
    5/24/2014 4:11:46 PM
  • 10 mins: It's knocked on in the line-out by Borthwick and Toulon clear up-field, but we'll come back for no advantage and have another scrum.
    5/24/2014 4:12:38 PM
  • 12 mins: A fourth penalty for Saracens as Steffon Armitage is pinged for holding on. Come on up Marcelo Bosch, and the centre will have a crack at goal from 5m in on half-way, the best part of 60m out...
    5/24/2014 4:15:15 PM
  • 13 mins: It's short, and Wilkinson pumps the ball into touch on the Toulon 10m line. Ambitious is probably the right word to use there.
    5/24/2014 4:16:01 PM
  • 14 mins: Billy Vunipola knocks the ball on from the first phase at the line-out, and we'll come back for the scrum. A very scrappy start so far.
    5/24/2014 4:16:45 PM
  • The Heineken Cup trophy is brought out


    5/24/2014 4:18:23 PM
  • 16 mins: Chance for Toulon, as the ball spills loose as Wigglesworth is charged down from a box-kick. Tillous-Borde goes after it but the ball just drifts over the deadball line before he can ground it.
    5/24/2014 4:19:37 PM
  • 18 mins: An Armitage no-no as the brothers stare at each other as Ashton's kick bounces between them and goes into touch. 
    5/24/2014 4:21:04 PM
  • 19 mins: There's a massive hit from Rossouw on Brits and the hooker is left writing in agony. Play continues, and Billy Vunipola steams over Mitchell in response. Brits is back up and Saracens are still charging. Farrell goes for a drop goal, but he's no Wilkinson and Rolland will now take a look at that tackle again.
    5/24/2014 4:24:14 PM
  • 20 mins: Apologies, it wasn't Rossouw but Burden. Rolland is happy with it, but straight from the 22m restart Lobbe pulls down Brown from the air and the flanker is heading to the sin-bin.
    5/24/2014 4:25:45 PM
  • 22 mins: Farrell will go for goal...
    5/24/2014 4:26:53 PM
  • 22 mins: But the England fly-half pushes it left of the posts and he fails to extend Sarries' lead.
    5/24/2014 4:28:11 PM
  • Everyone loves a big hit...

    5/24/2014 4:29:48 PM
  • 25 mins: Break in play as Hayman receives treatment. A quick bandage around the head and the Kiwi is good to continue.
    5/24/2014 4:31:34 PM
  • 26 mins: Strong defence from Saracens sees Delon Armitage bundled in to touch. Mitchell felt he was taken in the air by Ashton, but Rolland dismisses his complaint. Looked to be slightly airborne to me.
    5/24/2014 4:32:55 PM
  • 26 mins: And now Rolland wants to look at the replay, and eventually awards the penalty. While the right decision is made, this does really kill any flow the game can generate.
    5/24/2014 4:33:56 PM
  • Tillous-Borde attempts to fend off Strettle


    5/24/2014 4:35:14 PM
  • 28 mins: Video referee is called into action again, and this time I have no idea what they're even looking at. Burden appears to dive over the top as he clears out Stevens, but there's nothing vicious in it.
    5/24/2014 4:37:02 PM
  • 30 mins: TRY FOR TOULON!
    5/24/2014 4:37:55 PM
  • 30 mins: Wilkinson switches the ball from left to right and Giteau puts in a perfect chip ober the defence for Mitchell to run on to. Goode comes across to cover but the Wallaby beats him to the ball, before offloading to Matt Giteau who races in to score in the corner.
    5/24/2014 4:39:17 PM
  • 31 mins: Wilkinson converts beautifully from the right touchline and Toulon lead 7-3.
    5/24/2014 4:39:55 PM
  • 32 mins: Habana is down after colliding, legally, with Ashton in the air, but the Springbok is back up and Toulon are restored to 15 as Lobbe comes back on.
    5/24/2014 4:41:18 PM
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