Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Amlin Challenge Cup - Semi Finals Wrap

Toulon 32-29 Stade Français

Toulon struggled to a tight win against Stade Français to reach the final, thanks to the boot of Jonny Wilkinson securing a late drop goal for the win.

At home, against a very much weakened Stade Français team, Toulon were expected to win much more comfortably, but with a massive wind helping Stade Français in the first half they helped themselves to an early lead as young fly half Jules Plisson looked comfortable and assured with the boot.

When Toulon had the wind on their backs, several penalties from Jonny Wilkinson soon put them back into the lead, but Stade didn't give up and were in the match right up until the end when Wilkinson struck the winning drop goal.

There was no representation from the Americas in this match, with Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe on the sidelines.
Takudzwa Ngwenya of Biarritz moves away from Augustin Figuerola during the Amlin Challenge Cup semi final match between Biarritz Olympique and Brive at Parc des Sports Aguilera on April 28, 2012 in Biarritz, France.
American Takudzwa Ngwenya
evades the tackle of Argentine
Agustín Figuerola

Biarritz 19-0 Brive

Biarritz made it two home wins out of two in the semi finals as pretty much everybody expected as soon as the semi final draw was made.

Like Stade Français, Brive played a weakened side, but only slightly weakened compared to Stade's ransacked side.

The game was a very dull one, played in soaking conditions with two teams not playing much rugby, the excitement of the match lessened further when it became clear early on that Biarritz were not going to lose as well.

For Biarritz American Takudzwa "Zee" Ngwenya played the entire match on the wing, as did Argentine centre Marcelo Bosch who started at fly half, lock Manuel Carizza who is leaving the Basque side at the end of the season also started, whilst tighthead prop Franciso Gómez Kodela came off the bench.

For Brive Argentine scrum half Agustín Figuerola played the entire match whilst loosehead prop Pablo Henn came off the bench.

The Amlin Challenge Cup final will be played at the Twickenham Stoop on Wednesday the 18th of May between Toulon and Biarritz.

If Toulon win, the team that finishes seventh in the Top 14 will qualify for the 2012/13 Heineken Cup, if Biarritz win then they will qualify instead.

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