European Champions Cup: Edinburgh 40-14 Toulon
|Heineken Champions Cup|
|Edinburgh (26) 40|
|Tries: Toolis, Pyrgos, McInally, Dean Cons: Van der Walt 3, Hickey 1 Pens: Van der Walt 4|
|Toulon (7) 14|
|Tries: R Taofifenua, Ikpefan Cons: Belleau, Trinh-Duc|
Edinburgh enjoyed one of the best European wins in their history as they dominated Toulon at Murrayfield to earn a bonus-point Champions Cup victory.
A superb first-half display yielded tries for lock Ben Toolis and scrum-half Henry Pyrgos, Jaco van der Walt adding 16 points with the boot.
Toulon's sole response was a converted try from Romain Taofifenua.
Stuart McInally's try on the resumption took the hosts within sight of a bonus point and Chris Dean crossed late on.
Edinburgh's victory was only a point shy of their record winning margin in elite European competition - a 43-16 win over Ebbw Vale 20 years ago - and they can look forward with confidence to a double-header with Newcastle in the next group matches in mid-December.
The qualification hopes of Toulon, champions in successive years from 2013 to 2015, are effectively over after an opening defeat by the English Premiership side last week.
|Champions Cup Pool Five (*Newcastle v Montpellier on Sunday)|
Richard Cockerill, the Edinburgh coach, said that even if it killed him he was going to remove the plucky loser's psyche surrounding Edinburgh. They were, indeed, gallant in defeat last week against Montpellier, but garlands in defeat are like daggers in the Englishman's heart.
There was no fear of merely a moral victory here. This was a thunderous dismantling of an utterly out-classed, out-fought, out-thought Toulon, a side that started to run out of steam after quarter of the match. Edinburgh played with such pace, accuracy and venom that the visitors - star-studded but a grim shadow of what they used to be - were done for at a painfully early stage.
Van der Walt's boot put Edinburgh ahead after three minutes - and so began the rout. Their first try came after a Hamish Watson carry, a Van der Walt skip-pass to Dougie Fife and a burst from WP Nel.
When Toulon gave up a penalty, Edinburgh tapped and drove. McInally, immense all day, took it to an inch from the try-line and Toolis did the rest. The conversion made it 10-0, but even when big lock Taofifenua powered his way over to get Toulon back in it, their enthusiasm was short-lived.
Ruthless Edinburgh make Toulon pay
Pyrgos scored soon after to put the Edinburgh boot back on the Toulon throat. Bill Mata, putting in another seismic performance, started it all up the right. When Edinburgh swept left, Blair Kinghorn stretched the defence and found Matt Scott in the line. Scott's pop-pass to Pyrgos might have been slightly forward, but Edinburgh got away with it.
The lead was 10 points again and it became 13 and then 16 when Van der Walt's boot punished Toulon's indiscipline. Everything was now collapsing around the visitors' ears. Their line-out creaked and collapsed entirely and Edinburgh were ruthless in making them pay for it.
Van der Walt made it 26-7 just before the break and McInally spun over for Edinburgh's third try just after. The score had much to do with a brilliant take above his head by Darcy Graham to keep the momentum going. Nel took it on, accepted the hit and then off-loaded to McInally.
The conversion made it 33-7 four minutes into the new half. McInally had more than a dozen carries at that point. Magnus Bradbury had a similar number. The incredible Mata was careering towards the 20-mark.
'Topping the table must be the target'
Edinburgh took thrilling risks as they chased the fourth try and Toulon almost capitalised on how loose the game became when Fijian wing Josua Tuisova headed for the corner only to be scragged and put in touch by replacement prop Simon Berghan.
When Tuisova, a try-scoring wonder, is getting denied by a big tight-head, you know things have become impossibly grim for Toulon.
They got a second try through Ikpefan with eight minutes left, but it was only a crumb of comfort.
Edinburgh got that richly warranted fourth try in the end. With Toulon under pressure on their own 5m line, Francois Trinh-Duc threw a blind pass straight to Dean who ran over at the posts. Simon Hickey's conversion made it a 40-pointer on the scoreboard and a five-pointer on the Champions Cup table.
Cockerill's team are bang in the hunt now. On this form, topping the table must be their target.
Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Graham, Johnstone, Scott, Fife; Van der Walt, Pyrgos; Dell, McInally (capt), Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Bradbury, Watson, Mata.
Replacements: Ford (for McInally, 61), Sutherland (for Dell, 58), Berghan (for Nel, 55), Crosbie, Ritchie (for Gilchrist, 15-25, Bradbury, 46), Fowles (for Pyrgos, 70), Hickey (for Van der Walt, 65), Dean (for Scott, 70).
Toulon: Bonneval, Tuisova, Fekitoa, Bastareaud (capt), Savea, Belleau, Meric; Fresia, Etrillard, S Taofifenua, Kruger, R Taofifenua, Rebbadj, Lakafia, Vanverberghe.
Replacements: Soury, Chiocci (for Fresia, 41), Setiano (for S Taofifenua, 45), Potgieter (for Vanverberghe, 45), Ikpefan (for Savea, 70), Trinh-Duc (for Belleau, 56), Escande (for Meric, 50), Gahetau (for Potgieter 55).