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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018

Treviso and McKinley give Toulon the fright of their lives

The Dubliner had Treviso in a 29-27 lead before heartbreak came with a penalty deep in added time.

Image: Elena Barbini/INPHO

DUBLINER IAN MCKINLEY kicked five penalties and two conversions as Treviso pushed Toulon to the limit in their Champions Cup pool five clash, but Francois Trinh Duc ensured the Top 14 giants held firm to escape with a dramatic 30-29 win.

In a season which has seen Treviso and a revamped Zebre record impressive results and performances on a more consistent basis, a triumph for Benetton Rugby today would have been an earth-shaking message for the rest of Europe.

The prospect of an upset was signalled with first-half tries from Nacho Brex and Edoardo Gori to help Treviso take a 14-13 lead into the interval. That advantage could have been even greater had McKinley been on target with his two penalty attempts midway through the first period.

Toulon touched down their two tries through Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova five minutes into each half, but for the most part they were embroiled in a blow-for-blow battle with the Italian outfit.

And it looked like they just might come off the wrong side of the clash when McKinley slotted a 78th minute penalty. However, there was heartbreak for Italians and neutrals – with immense relief for Toulon – afoot as they forced a scrum penalty two minutes into added time and Trinh Duc held his nerve to ensure his side keep pace with Bath, pulling level on eight points at the top of pool five.

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Sean Farrell

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