WEXFORD NATIVE ROBIN Copeland was the man of the match as the Cardiff Blues claimed a superb 19-15 victory against Toulon at Arms Park this afternoon.
The result was a much-needed boost for Phil Davies’ men after their 44-28 defeat away to the Exeter Chiefs last weekend. Cardiff were the fully deserving winners thanks to a determined defensive effort and a late try by substitute Gareth Davies.
Reigning Heineken Cup champions Toulon didn’t managed to cross the whitewash, relying instead on the boot of Jonny Wilkinson to kick all 15 of their points from penalties.
Moving into the final 10 minutes of the game, the former England and Lions international put the Top 14 outfit into an ominous 15-12 lead, but the Blues showed inspirational desire to fight back and claim the victory.
Davies’ try arrived in the 77th minute, after three penalties from Leigh Halfpenny and one from Rhys Patchell had kept Cardiff in the hunt. The winning score came from a Toulon error, with No. 8 Chris Masoe knocking on inside his own 22, and from the resulting scrum Owen Williams’ footwork created the momentum for Davies to dot down.
Opposite Masoe was the Leinster academy product Copeland, who carried superbly for the Blues throughout as well as contributing physically in defence. If he can continue to show this kind of form, Joe Schmidt will surely be getting in contact with him.
For Cardiff, this surprise win sees their hopes of advancing past the group stages rekindled.