Sunday May 15, 2022

3:50pm, 14 May 2022

Toulon supporters clearly have a different interpretation of ‘respecting the kicker’ – at least judging by their reaction to Owen Farrell at Stade Mayol tonight.

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The home crowd could be clearly heard jeering Saracens flyhalf during his attempts at goal in their Challenge Cup semi-final in the south of France.

Every time Farrell stepped up to the tee, resounding boos could be heard around the raucous stadium, all apparently directed at the England star.

“Please respect the kicker, said no one at Toulon,” joked commentator Nick Mullins, before David Flatman jokingly suggested: “Maybe that’s just how they respect the kicker down here.”

There was some suggestion that fans were actually booing the decisions of referee Andrew Brace, an official that has often come in for criticism in France following the 2020 Autumn Nations Series.

Either way, it didn’t appear to unsettle Farrell, who proved as accurate as ever.

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RC Toulon and Saracens were both bidding to join the elite group of four clubs – Bath Rugby, Leinster Rugby, Northampton Saints and Wasps – who won have both the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup.

Toulon had extra motivation to make the 70-kilometre journey once again having lost a dramatic 2010 decider to Cardiff Rugby at the Stade Vélodrome in front of a record attendance for an EPCR Challenge Cup final of 48,990.

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And in the end so it was, with Mark McCall’s Londoners beaten 25-16 by their fellow black and reds.

Following on from Wasps’ defeat earlier in the day, Toulon will play Lyon in an all-French final at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

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A brace of tries from France Six Nations grand slam wing Gabin Villiere, along with a stunning individual effort from Jiuta Wainiqolo, got Toulon over the line while player of the match Louis Carbonel also kicked 10 points.

Saracens managed just one try from Ben Earl.

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