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RE:LIVE: Former Cardiff Blues back row duo recall unforgettable win over Toulon

CBTV | 1st April 2020


Cardiff Blues legends Robin Copeland and Sam Warburton were the latest players to tune in to RE:LIVE as they took a trip down memory lane to the unforgettable Heineken Cup victory over Toulon at Cardiff Arms Park in 2013.

Gareth Davies’ last gasp try will be remembered on the terraces for a long time, and the back row duo recalled the encounter, while giving insight into their memories, the pre-match preparations and the electric atmosphere at the Welsh capital.

It’s the second episode of the series where we look back at some of the region’s most memorable occasions on the European stage. The first episode saw Olly Robinson, Blaine Scully and Richard Hodges rewinding to the stunning Challenge Cup win over Gloucester in Bilbao.

Copeland, who was man of the match against Toulon, recalls: “I was late to the team run and Phil [Davies] threatened to drop me from the side! 

“But I just remember being so nervous and calm before this game. No one gave us a chance and they were double European champions at the time with a team full of superstars.

“I’d come through the ranks in the Championship, hadn’t started off at a top club and had to earn my way up. So this was one of the first games where I played against a superstar team who are as close to an international side as you’re going to get.

“It’s one of those games where a lot of things went right and I felt really good. I was at an age where I was hitting the start of my peak and winning this game put a lot of attention towards my direction.

"It gave me a lot of belief in myself and a lot of people still mention this game and the celebrations at the end.

“It was the underdogs against the Galacticos. It was a huge day in my personal career and a day I look back on with a lot of fond memories.

“But it’s also a game I haven’t watched in seven years or so, so looking back now is surreal and makes me feel pretty old!

“What a day! What a game! The crowd came on and I was absolutely exhausted. Counted for a lot that game back then."

 

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain, Warburton, added: “I shouldn’t have played this game because I remember doing the team run, and my ankle was in bits and my knee is strapped up to the max. But I got through it somehow and I have no idea how I played this game. It was loads of painkillers and just cracking on I think.

“It was one of Gethin’s first games since returning from Toulon, so he was giving us some insight in the week leading up to the game. He said that they don’t like to travel and we saw pictures of them all in Nandos the day before.

“It was awesome to play in front of crowds that big when they were packed out for the big European games. Those big European games, Christmas derbies, they were different level.

“Once the boys knew that you were in it, and the fans knew, and it was 6-6 at half time when you come back out then they will certainly know they have a game on their hands.

“We had nothing to lose. Even though it was a high-profile game, it wasn’t a high-pressure game for us. 

“The season wasn’t going well and this put us right back on track. There was no expectations so we could just go out and play, and that’s a great position to be in.

“Phil did used to get quite heated and emotional at half time and was a very passionate coach, and I really liked that about him.

"I remember Patchell, and Jonny Wilkinson was a big hero of his, and he went into changing rooms afterwards and Jonny agreed to swap shirts with him. You don’t normally swap club shirts, but Patchell came back and was over the moon he had the shirt. He idolised him, and that was a nice touch.

“It was epic. What a finish. That’s one of my top three Cardiff Blues wins, that’s awesome.”