Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

Sport

Jonny Wilkinson looking for Top 14 crown with Toulon

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-08

English rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson is hoping to win France's Top 14 league on Saturday at the Stade de France, when he leads Toulon – who have failed to take the title home since 1989 – into battle with formidable rivals, Toulouse.

AFP - England star Jonny Wilkinson will aim to lead Toulon to their first French league title since 1992 in Saturday’s Top 14 final against Toulouse at the Stade de France.

For Wilkinson - who had been off colour with his kicking in recent matches - it is a chance to add yet another memorable moment to his 2003 World Cup final heroics, when his drop goal in the last minute of extra-time delivered the trophy to England.

“I am astonished to be going back to the Stade de France for the final, it is somewhere I haven’t been for a while!” joked the 33-year-old, who retired from international rugby after last year’s World Cup.

“It’s going to be an extraordinary experience. I can’t wait for it,” he added.

The ex-England fly-half was instrumental in his side’s nail-biting 15-12 victory over Clermont in the semi-final, kicking five penalties to account for all of Toulon’s points.

Toulon, who have won the French championship three times in 1931, 1987 and 1989, will be up against a Toulouse side, captained by French flanker and national team captain Thierry Dusautoir, that is hunting for an unrivalled 19th title.

Dusautoir, the 2011 International Rugby Board’s Player of the Year, will be ably assisted by inside centre Luke McAlister as well as several French internationals such as Vincent Clerc, Clement Poitrenaud and Yoann Maestri, but their coach Guy Noves insisted there was “no favourite” ahead of Saturday’s showpiece.

“We will need to prepare differently for this match against Toulon. We will need to adapt strategically. We expect a complicated match. For me, there is no favourite,” Noves said.

While it may be a battle for French supremacy there is an interesting England versus France sub-plot given that Toulon are considerably bolstered by three Englishmen in their ranks.

Aside from Wilkinson, the club backed by comic book billionaire Mourad Boudjellal, also features Top 14 player of the season Steffon Armitage and 38-year-old veteran lock Simon Shaw.

The teams split their two meetings this season with Toulouse easily winning the first encounter 33-12 at the Stade Ernest Wallon in December. Toulon then gained their revenge with a close-fought 25-22 victory at the Stade Mayol on May 5.

“Toulouse have a very experienced and powerful set of players and it will be another big challenge,” explained Wilkinson.

“Now we are in the final and we have to do everything we can to get the result that we want.

"Getting to the final is good, but if we win it, it would be phenomenal," added Wilkinson, who also won the English Premiership title with Newcastle Falcons in 1998.
 

Date created : 2012-06-08

COMMENT(S)