Heavy tournament favourites, Toulon, visited the Welsh capital in full swagger following the opening day thrashing of Glasgow Warriors. Meanwhile, Cardiff Blues were looking to bounce back and claim their first win of the European campaign after falling to a 44-29 defeat to Exeter Chiefs.
Cardiff Blues 19 RC Toulon 15
Saturday 19 Oct 2013, 1.35pm, Cardiff Arms Park
There were a number of intriguing match-ups heading into the Arms Park clash.
How would 20-year-old Rhys Patchell fare against the veteran World Cup winner, Jonny Wilkinson? Could the young centre pairing of Cory Allen and Owen Williams contain the experience of Matt Giteau and Maxime Mermoz? And who would come out on top as Josh Navidi and Sam Warburton took on Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Steffon Armitage?
There were only three minutes on the clock when Delon Armitage was penalised for an infringement at the breakdown. Everyone expected a kick for touch, but Patchell had other ideas.
The youngster stepped up from 60m out and showed remarkable composure to slot the long range penalty and get the scoreboard ticking.
From this point onwards, it very much became a battle of nerves between Wilkinson and Leigh Halfpenny, as they exchanged penalties, one after another.
Despite heavy rainfall, there were the odd spark of attack from both sides during the first half.
Jose Tuisova was denied a first half try, after knocking on in the build-up, while Harry Robinson had the Toulon alarm bells ringing, as he shuffled past a number of defenders down the centre of the field.
Tuisova was again close to touching down in the second half. He chipped ahead into the try zone, but Halfpenny was penalised for tackling the Fijian off-the-ball.
The visitors had a three point advantage heading into the final five minutes, but a moment of magic from replacement, Gareth Davies, turned the game on its head.
The outside half squeezed past the tackles of Wilkinson and Mermoz, and despite being up-ended by Frederic Michalak, still managed to find his way to the line to give his side a dramatic win.
Cardiff Blues: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Owen Williams, Cory Allen, Harry Robinson; Rhys Patchell, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins, Marc Breeze, Scott Andrews, Bradley Davies, Filo Paulo, Josh Navidi, Sam Warburton, Robin Copeland
Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Sam Hobbs, Benoit Bourrust, Lou Reed, Rory Watts-Jones, Lewis Jones, Gareth Davies, Richard Smith
RC Toulon: Delon Armitage; Josua Tuisova, Maxime Mermoz, Matt Giteau, Rudi Wulf; Jonny Wilkinson, Frederic Michalak; Xavier Chiocci, Jean-Charles Orioli, Martin Castrogiovanni, Bakkies Botha, Ali Williams, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Steffon Armitage, Chris Masoe
Replacements: Benjamin Noirot, Emmanuel Felsina, Carl Hayman, Juan Smith, Virgile Bruni, Drew Mitchell, Alexis Palisson, Jocelino Suta
Cardiff Blues kicked off their Heineken Champions Cup campaign with a stunning victory at Lyon, and will return to the Arms Park to take on Glasgow Warriors on Sunday.
Be there to support the boys! Tickets are available now and can be purchased by clicking here or calling 029 20 302030.