Toulon shake off runners
[1/5] Rugby Union - European Challenge Cup - Final - Glasgow Warriors v RC Toulon - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland - May 19, 2023 RC Toulon players celebrate after winning the European Challenge Cup REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
DUBLIN, May 19 (Reuters) - Toulon got off to a lightening start and then continued their dominance after the break to easily beat Glasgow Warriors 43-19 in Dublin on Friday to claim the European Challenge Cup for the first time after losing four previous finals.
Toulon outscored the Scots, competing in their first final, six tries to three in a free scoring contest at the Aviva Stadium in the Irish capital to put aside the disappointment of finishing runners-up in 2010, 2012, 2020 and again last year.
Scrumhalf Baptiste Serin was the star of a runaway first half performance as Toulon went 21-0 ahead at the break while after halftime the French kept up the momentum.
Serin showed individual brilliance to score the first try after five minutes with a clever kick-and-grab grubber and also got their third 20 minutes later, with a short dart over the line after a clever dummy off the back of the maul.
In between, there was a crash-over try for 39-year-old Italian international Sergio Parisse in his penultimate game before he retires.
Serin converted all three tries but then had to go off at halftime after hurting his ankle.
Benoit Paillaugue took over the kicking duties and extended the lead with a successful 51st minute penalty.
A decoy move down the wing allowed captain Kyle Steyn to score the Scots’ first points in the 56th minute, but any hopes of a stirring comeback were quickly doused by the Fijian pair of Jiuta Wainiqolo, who went over one minute before the hour mark, and Nayacalevu Waisea who crashed over for another Toulon try five minutes later to give them a runaway 36-7 lead.
Glasgow ensured Toulon had to work through the final 15 minutes before making sure of success as Sebastian Cancelliere and Steyn scored tries to reduce the deficit from 29 to 17 points. But Toulon fittingly had the final say with a try for substitute Ihaia West at the end of the game.
Toulon's success makes up for a disappointing domestic season, where they sit in eighth place in the Top 14 competition.
France will be looking for more success on Saturday at the same stadium when La Rochelle meet Ireland's Leinster in the Champions Cup final. It is a repeat of last year's decider which La Rochelle narrowly won.
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