The Scots conceded three tries in the opening 24 minutes in Dublin and Jones put the loss down to his side’s high error count, both in defence and attack. The French side won 43-19 to lift the trophy for the first time in what was their fifth Challenge Cup final. “We are massively disappointed,” said the centre. “We were not good enough. We made way too many errors. We did not take our chances, we got into their half, we go into their 22 quite a few times. This season our conversion rate has been pretty good but on Friday it was not great. There was nothing wrong with our preparation. We are not bad players. We have plenty of experience between us. It is just mistakes. Mistakes at this level are costly. Execution errors, if you are not getting things right, if you are coughing up the ball, in your half especially a good team like Toulon is going to make you pay for that and we found that.”
Baptiste Serin enjoyed an outstanding evening for the French side before having to go off injured at half-time but the scrum-half got the ball rolling with a try after four minutes. He then set up Sergio Parisse for the second 13 minutes later and got the third himself after a break by centre Waisea Vuidravuwalu. Serin converted all three, leaving Glasgow to try to retrieve a 21-point deficit with 56 minutes left to play.
It was the Warriors’ first time in a European final but Jones was unsure whether the poor start could have been a case of them freezing on the big stage. “I don't know. I will have to watch the game back,” he said. “Potentially. I don’t think it was the occasion. I want to say, it was one of those days when it didn’t go right. Execution errors. It should have been tighter. Those three tries at the beginning were really easy for them. We got back into the game in the second part of the second half, we were in their half and we played a little bit of good rugby but each time we got close or had a chance we made a mistake whether it was a bad pass, a drop ball, giving away a penalty. You name it, we did it and it was really frustrating and in a final you have to be switched on. You have to be perfect. We were pretty sloppy and you can’t do that against any team, in any game.”
It was a bruising end to the season for Glasgow who had lost at home to Munster in the quarter-finals of the United Rugby Championship a fortnight before. The Scotland players in their squad will now have a couple of weeks off before joining up with the national team for Rugby World Cup training camp. “We will be back on June 5, it is a quick turnaround,” added Jones. “I don’t think we will be over it by then. It is going to take a while but yeah, straight back to work and knuckle down for a summer of training.”