Limerick Rugby
Don't Miss

Home quarter final v Toulon for Munster as they brush aside Castres in Thomond Park


European Champions Cup, Pool 4:
Munster 48, Castres 3
IT may have been delayed for three hours because of the terrible rain in Limerick this morning, but Munster and Castres severed up a terrific game of rugby, befitting of the European Champions League, in Thomond Park this afternoon. There were only ten points between the teams at the break but Munster just stepped up the gears right from the restart and deserved the result that sees them get a home game against Toulon in the quarter final in Thomond Park next April.
A lead of 13-3 and a try in the bag gave the home side the perfect platform to put this game beyond the French. The second try came with 44 minutes played. Keatley banged a penalty within eight metres of the line, the pack did the rest and Rhys Marshall got over with Keatley’s conversion moving the score to 20-3 halfway to the winning try bonus.
Castres’ discipline began to fall apart, conceding three penalties in succession and Munster were like hounds in pursuit of the scent of a fox. The pack pounded the visitors’ defence five metres from the line but Castres twice held them up. Eventually Conor Murray took it on himself and crashed over only to have the score disallowed after consultation with the TMO. Munster went for another scrum, Castres lost another player to the bin and at the next scrum referee Ben Whitehouse had enough and awarded a penalty try to put Munster ahead 27-3 and one try shy of the bonus point. That was assured in some style three minutes later. Rory Kockett kicked deep as Castres tried to get some decent territory. Keith Earls fielded the ball, off-loaded to Simon Zebo who went left, then right and thny into clear country before diving over under the posts. Keatley added the extras and at 34-3 this contest was done and dusted. Quick feet from Alex Wooton saw the replacement winger go in for try number five, converted by JJ Hanrahan to bring the lead to 41-3 while Castres finished with a spirited ten minutes in the home half, this latest visit to Thomond Park will be remembered fondly by the French side. Munster’s James Cronin finished off a great day for the Reds with a try at the death with JJ Hanrahan showing his kicking skills with a terrific conversion.
It took Munster eight minutes to get their hands on the ball with the visitors dominating possession. They got a penalty at a scrum on 12 minutes but Jean Kleyn got on the wrong side of the referee and the decision was reversed. Castres scrum-half Rory Kockett landed the kick and the French were 3-0 to the good. Muster’s response was almost immediate, Coete and Kilcoyne prominent with a series of pick and drives. The penalty was awarded and Ian Keatley levelled it at 3-3 with 17 minutes played. Munster continued to be tigerish at the breakdown, putting fierce pressure on the French but both sides kicked away possession too easily. Munster got a lucky break as we entered the end of the first quarter when Castres knocked on, only for Earls to be pinged for holding on but the home side were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Keatley landed with ease for a 6-3 lead on 25 minutes.
Castres continued to show dogged resolve but they continually wasted good possession. Munster stepped up the pace, Keatley kicking a penalty into the corner. Murray was held up a metre out but when Castres lost centre Thomas Combezou to the bin, Munster sensed blood and went for a five metre scrum under the posts. Another penalty was awarded, Keatley took it quickly and with numbers outside left, Keith Earls had a clear run at the conrner. Keatley had the crowd on their feet with a magnificent conversion from the touchline and Munster’s aim to reap five points in this game began to look possible. A second try chance went abegging three minutes before half time. Chris Farrell made a clean break, Murray carried it on but his pass to Conway was spilled. Half time, Munster 13, Castres 3.
Munster Rugby: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony (c), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander
Replacements: Niall Scannell for Marshall 44, James Cronin for Kilcoyne 17), John Ryan for Archer 42, Darren O’Shea for Holland 61, Jack O’Donoghue for Coete 65, Duncan Williams for Murray 69, JJ Hanrahan for Keatley 63, Alex Wootton for Earls 61.
Castres Olympique: Geoffrey Palis; Kylian Jaminet, Thomas Combezou, Robert Ebersohn (c), David Smith; Julien Dumora, Rory Kockott; Antoine Tichit, Jody Jenneker, Damien Tussac, Alexandre Bias, Thibault Lassalle, Yannick Caballero, Steve Mafi, Alex Tulou
Replacements: Kevin Firmin, Tudor Stroe, Daniel Kotze, Victor Moreaux, Baptiste Delaporte, Yohan Domenech, Yohan Le Bourhis, Afusipa Taumoepeau.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), Assistant ref: Wayne Davies (Wales), Assistant ref: Dewi Phillips (Wales), TMO: Jonathan Mason (Wales), Citing Commissioner: Richard McGhee (Scotland)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login