Holders Toulon lose, Irish provinces on top
Cardiff Blues' Gareth Davies (R) breaks a tackle from Toulon's fly lalf Jonny Wilkinson (2nd R) on his way to scoring a late try during the European Cup rugby union match at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff, south Wales on October 19, 2013
Toulon had led through most of the Pool 2 game as Jonny Wilkinson kicked five penalties.
But a Rhys Patchell penalty and three from Leigh Halfpenny had kept the Welsh hosts -- who had opened their campaign with a disappointing defeat by English side Exeter -- in the game until the dramatic finale.
Toulon No.8 Chris Masoe was at fault with a clumsy knock-on when under no pressure on his own 22.
Cardiff attacked from the resulting scrum with centre Owen Williams making a barnstorming run that took him through several tackles before he was brought down five yards out.
The Blues recycled the ball quickly and Davies danced through two tacklers and then managed to go over Frederic Michalak's shoulder before stretching out to touch the ball down over the line.
Halfpenny kicked the extras condemning Toulon to their first defeat in the competition since their final group game away to Montpellier last season.
"This is a very disappointing result for us," said Toulon centre Maxime Mermoz.
Toulon's defeat was the precursor for a bad day for French clubs as French champions Castres and 2011 French championship finalists Montpellier also went down to defeat to Leinster and Ulster respectively.
Castres were beaten 19-7 by three-time winners Leinster in Dublin, although they were well in contention to cause an upset until centre Remi Lamerat was sin-binned in the 57th minute for a shoulder charge.
Leinster took advantage by scoring a try through prop Jack McGrath -- playing in only his second game in the competition -- which was converted by man of the match Jimmy Gopperth to give them a 16-7 lead.
Gopperth added a penalty, his fourth of the game, to give them victory.
"We wanted to get two wins from our first two games and we have achieved that," said Leinster and Ireland No8 Jamie Heaslip.
"It was scrappy and we have a tired changing room but a happy one," added Heaslip, whose side he admitted would need to sharpen up for the two matches against English side Northampton.
Ulster's win -- based largely round five penalties by South African scrum-half Ruan Pienaar -- was especially creditable as it was only their second win in France in the history of the European Cup.
Ireland wing Tommy Bowe, who played a crucial role in their only try by Andrew Trimble, said that it was a result they would treasure.
"This is an amazing result for us," said the 29-year-old former Ospreys star.
"This was an imposing fixture for us as Montpellier had not lost at home all season. We are out on our feet but we are delighted, we have a lot of self-belief."
Another Irish province Connacht had also won earlier on Saturday as former Scottish international fly-half Dan Parks kicked 23 points to keep their qualification hopes alive with a thumping 33-6 win at Italian side Zebre.
No.8 George Naoupu and centre Mata Fifita scored tries while Parks kicked seven penalties and a conversion for the weakest of the Irish provinces.
On Friday, a late Louis Picamoles try help Toulouse to a 17-16 victory at Saracens in front of more than 60,000 people at Wembley, leaving the four-time winners in charge of Pool 3.
Leicester winger Adam Thompstone's last minute try earnt the Tigers a bonus point in their 34-3 thrashing of Treviso in Pool 5.