Planet Rugby

Leinster recover to beat Castres

12th January 2014 14:39

Share:

Luke Fitzgerald in action for Leinster

Victory: Fitzgerald and Leinster

Leinster put one foot in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals after fighting back from 0-14 down to beat Castres 29-22 at Stade Pierre Antoine on Sunday.

Tries from Jimmy Gopperth and Jordi Murphy, as well as three penalties and a Rob Kearney drop-goal in the second half were enough for the Irishmen to fight back from 14-0 down and remain top of Pool One.

Northampton Saints are the sole team able to catch the Irishmen, though they can only be overtaken if they lose by more than seven at home to Ospreys next week.

Trailing at half time, the visitors came out fighting after the break and sneaked past a Castres team who now have no chance of progressing.

The game burst into life in the ninth minute with the first try. Remi Lamerat took on poor Leinster defence, and after finally being tackled the ball came to Seremaia Bai whose looping pass found Richie Gray in the corner.

Castres were on top, looking to set the pace with quick offloads which saw the home crowd in good voice. That noise spurred the French champions on for their second try. The visitors struggled to deal with the speed of their hosts, with Remi Grosso's inside pass giving Brice Dulin an easy run in.

Leinster had to use power, rather than pace, to hit back soon after. A solid five metre scrum gave Jimmy Gopperth the chance to step away from two opponents and put the Irishman back in the game. Cedric Garcia's long distance penalty looked to have sent Castres into the break ten points ahead, only for Gopperth to score his second moments later. Leinster now went in five points behind.

Leinster failed to capitalise on their strong end to the first period though, and spent large parts of the second half on the back foot, Daniel Kirkpatrick going close as Serge Milhas' men looked to keep their Heineken Cup hopes alive.

After soaking up the pressure, a Gopperth penalty and a superb Rob Kearney drop-goal gave their side a one point lead, with the game turning into a frantic, end to end affair.

Another couple of penalties put the away side all but out of sight, and means Leinster will be in the driving seat going into next week's game. Murphy's try was the icing on the cake, with the only disappointment that his side weren't able to find the bonus point. Lamerat had the final say, though his powerful surge over the line was all in the vain.

The scorers:

For Castres:
Tries: Gray, Dulin, Lamerat
Con: Garcia 2
Pen: Garcia

For Leinster:
Tries: Gopperth 2, Murphy
Con: Gopperth
Pen: Gopperth 3
Drop: R Kearney

Castres: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Remi Grosso, 13 Seremaia Bai, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Max Evans, 10 Remi Tales (capt), 9 Cedric Garcia, 8 Piula Faasalele, 7 Ibrahim Diarra, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Christophe Samson, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Karena Wihongi, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Mihaita Lazar, 18 Benjamin Desroche, 19 Yannick Caballero, 20 Julien Tomas, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Marcel Garvey, 23 Anton Peikrishvili.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aardon Dundon, 17 Jack O'Connell, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Leo Cullen, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Zane Kirchner.

Referee: Nigel Owens

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821