RugbyU: Toulon edge Leicester, Munster beat Quins

Jonny Wilkinson starred for Toulon as they kept their European Cup hopes alive after disposing of Leicester 21-15 on Sunday, while twice winners Munster also progressed to the semi-finals after an 18-12 win at Harlequins.

Wilkinson outscored former England teammate Toby Flood in a battle of the boot between past and present international fly-halves as the French Top 14 leaders squeezed past two-time champions Leicester.

"I have lots of experience of playing against Leicester who are a good, good team and capable of winning everywhere with their strength," said Wilkinson, who slotted over all six of his penalties.

"They can control matches. We had to maintain the effort and discipline during the match...and remain solid for 80 minutes.

"There are good European teams (in this stage of the competition), to be in the semis is a real pleasure. But the next game will be even harder," added the ex-England star.

Three penalties from Leicester man Flood gave the Tigers an early 9-0 lead before two successful kicks from Wilkinson hauled the hosts to within three at half-time.

Two subsequent penalties from Wilkinson, who earlier in the week announced he would extend his stay in Provence for a further season, handed Toulon their first lead at 12-9 before Flood hauled the visitors level.

Toulon then moved 18-12 ahead thanks to two more efforts from Wilkinson but Flood gave Leicester hope with his fifth penalty of the tie 15 minutes from the end only for Wilkinson to wrap up proceedings with a late drop goal.

Toulon will next travel to Twickenham on April 28 to face English Premiership pacesetters Saracens, who recorded a 27-16 victory at home to Irish side Ulster on Saturday, for a place in the final.

Earlier, Irish province Munster reached the last four of the competition for the first time since 2010 and in so doing avenged a Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to the Londoners two years ago.

In a brutal encounter Munster fly-half Ronan O'Gara outscored Quins' Nick Evans by six penalties to four to maintain Irish hopes of continuing their recent domination in this competition.

Irish sides have won five of the last seven editions of the European Cup and following Ulster's defeat, Munster remain the last representatives from the Emerald Isle.

The first period was a war of attrition with neither side coming close to breaching their opponents' tryline.

Harlequins went into the break 9-6 ahead with missed kicks at goal proving decisive.

Former All Black fly-half Evans was first to misfire but O'Gara hooked two kicks wide before finding his range.

The hosts had their noses just in front but that lead was turned on its head within six minutes of the restart.

Quins captain Chris Robshaw was penalised for offside and O'Gara made no mistake from his kick.

Flanker Peter O'Mahony then robbed line-out ball from George Robson deep in Harlequins' 22 and the hosts infringed handing O'Gara a kick straight in front of the posts.

Munster had steppped up the intensity and Harlequins simply couldn't cope, giving away another penalty in front of the sticks that O'Gara, who now couldn't miss, slotted over for a 15-9 lead.

O'Gara kicked a fifth straight penalty without reply before Harlequins started to wrest some control back from their Irish visitors with a scything break through the midfield from winger Tom Williams.

That set up an Evans penalty but Munster then pushed the hosts deep back into their own territory and controlled the ball to see out a deserved victory.

Favourites Clermont, who booked their last four spot on Saturday when they ousted fellow French Top 14 side Montpellier 36-14, await Munster, in Montpellier, on April 27.