Preview: Castres v Leinster

Date published: October 24 2014

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Leinster have the chance to lay down a marker in the Champions Cup when they travel to Pierre Antoine to take on struggling Castres.

Leinster have the chance to lay down a marker in the Champions Cup when they travel to Pierre Antoine to take on struggling Castres.

The French side produced a battling display in the inaugural game of the competition away at Harlequins, but eventually cracked when Danny Care went over 15 minutes from the end to score what proved to be the decisive try.

A 25-9 loss was probably a touch harsh on the Top 14 runners-up, but after a disastrous start to their domestic season, it appears they are already prioritising the league.

Rory Kockott is one of a number of players omitted from the matchday squad to take on Leinster, who were the only team to beat Castres at Pierre Antoine in all competitions last year.

That gives Matt O’Connor’s side the perfect opportunity to cement their position as contenders for a play-off place ahead of a December double header against Quins.

Leinster avoided a disastrous start to their Champions Cup campaign with two tries in ten second-half minutes against Wasps, but they were not entirely convincing.

That has been an ongoing theme for much of the season so far for the Dublin outfit, who currently sit sixth in the Pro12.

Part of the reason is because of their extensive injury list, with Sean O’Brien and Cian Healy among the long-term absentees.

However there is some good news with Luke Fitzgerald set to return to action for the first time this season.

And despite Castres’ struggles this season, Leinster scrum coach Marco Caputo believes they will be a different proposition on home soil.

“French teams are significantly better at home than they are on the road,” said Caputo.

“Castres have only won three matches, all of those matches they’ve won have been at home. One of those matches was against Grenoble, who are currently sitting 5th in the Top 14, and they put 50 points on them. I’d say Castres at this moment in time are probably a 20-point better side playing at home.

“We’ve previewed they’re performances both on the road and at home and it’s significantly evident that they are a much better team at home.”

While Castres may be a much better side at home, they’ve endured a difficult week, with the confirmation that fly-half and skipper R

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