Jonny Wilkinson will be back at Twickenham after he kicked Toulon to a 21-15 victory over Leicester and into a Heineken Cup semi-final against Saracens.
World Cup-winning England hero Wilkinson slotted six penalties and a late drop-goal to win the kicking duel against his one-time apprentice Toby Flood and shatter Leicester’s European ambitions.
Toulon will face Saracens, who beat last year’s runners-up Ulster on Saturday. The fly-half battle between Wilkinson and Owen Farrell will be just one absorbing sub-plot.
“It will be great to be back at Twickenham but it’s also the occasion that counts,” Wilkinson said. “We know it’s a hell of an ask but we have given ourselves a chance. This is a great victory for the club. It was a big occasion and this is a first for us.
“That is why I signed a new contract, for days like this. It was a phenomenally difficult game and it is no wonder Leicester are always at the top of the Premiership and reaching quarters, semis and finals of the Heineken Cup. We will learn a lot from this game and hopefully we can go on and use that knowledge in the semi-final against Saracens.”
Leicester look set to be without prop Marcus Ayerza for their Premiership run-in after the prop suffered a suspected broken collarbone in a clash with Toulon lock Bakkies Botha. Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill has referred the incident to the citing commissioner.
“It looks like Ayerza’s broken his clavicle from the knee that Botha put in. I have asked the citing commissioner to look at it,” Cockerill said. “We have no complaints over the result. Toulon are a very good team.”
The other semi-final will be between Clermont Auvergne, who beat Montpellier, and Munster following their 18-12 victory over English champions Harlequins. Paul O’Connell made strong claims for a British and Irish Lions place with an outstanding display in a game Munster controlled after the interval.
Ronan O’Gara kicked four of his six penalties in the first 16 minutes of the second half as Munster, driven on by O’Connell, overpowered Harlequins.
“The better side won,” said Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea.
“I thought Paul O’Connell was absolutely majestic.”