ESPN SCRUM

/ Heineken Cup 2013-14

/ Match Pack

Heineken Cup
Leinster fightback stuns Castres
ESPN Staff
January 12, 2014
Report Match details
Date/Time: Jan 12, 2014, 13:45 local, 12:45 GMT
Venue: Stade Pierre-Antoine, Castres
Castres 22 - 29 Leinster
Half-time: 17 - 12
Tries: Dulin, Gray, Lamerat
Cons: Garcia 2
Pens: Garcia
Tries: Gopperth 2, Murphy
Cons: Gopperth
Pens: Gopperth 3
Drops: RDJ Kearney
Castres get the push on against Leinster, Castres v Leinster, Heineken Cup, Stade Pierre Antoine Stadium, Castres, January 12, 2014
Richie Gray presides over the disintegrating scrum
© Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links

Leinster turned around a 14-point deficit to see off Castres 29-22 in France on Sunday.

Castres' most recent home defeat was against Ulster last January and they fell to another Irish province here despite dominating the scrum. The under-strength Castres team ended the first quarter in full control as full-back Brice Dulin touched down to add to Scotland and Lions lock Richie Gray's opening try. Jimmy Gopperth scored two tries in response, the second coming in first-half injury time, as Leinster closed the gap to 17-12 at the interval.

It was a real war of attrition in the concluding 40 minutes and Matt O'Connor's men gained vital momentum on the hour mark, courtesy of three Gopperth penalties and a drop goal from Rob Kearney on his 50th Heineken Cup appearance. Flanker Jordi Murphy then claimed his first European try to put the result beyond doubt, while Castres capitalised on Sean Cronin's sin-binning to score an injury-time consolation try through Remi Lamerat.

Having lost at home to Northampton in the previous round, Leinster needed to bounce back in order to keep hold of top spot and remain on course for the quarter-finals. Castres were missing some notable names through injury - top-scoring scrum-half Rory Kockott and back-rowers Pedrie Wannenburg and Antonie Claassen chief among them - but their shadow side got off to a very strong start.

Flanker Ibrahim Diarra got his hands free to send centre Lamerat weaving through some lacklustre Leinster challenges. He was brought down in sight of the posts, before Seremaia Bai's long pass put the waiting Gray over in the left corner. Television match official Derek Bevan confirmed the score which Cedric Garcia crisply converted.

The excellent Diarra then forced another turnover near halfway from which the French side sprung winger Remi Grosso into space on the left and with Rob Kearney drawn in, he passed inside for Dulin to finish off their second try. Garcia's conversion left Leinster 14-0 adrift and with considerable ground to make up. Their forwards took up the baton, with Jordi Murphy held up short from a line-out maul.

From the resulting scrum, the Castres defence was caught off guard as Eoin Reddan passed for his half-back partner Gopperth to score by the posts, with the New Zealander also converting. Goal-kicking scrum-half Garcia was on target in the 39th minute but the visitors - aided by a fine Fitzgerald run - got a timely boost when Gopperth shrugged off two tackles and stretched over under pressure from Gray to claim his second try.

Leinster won a central penalty for some needless stamping by Garcia when play resumed and the successful kick from Gopperth made it a two-point game. Reddan soon sniped through on a break which led to a long-range drop goal from full-back Kearney, moving Leinster ahead for the first time, and Castres coughed up another penalty which Gopperth nudged home.

Leinster were suddenly 24-17 ahead when a 63rd-minute carry from replacement prop Cian Healy - a late inclusion on the bench after an incredibly quick recovery from ankle surgery - set up Gopperth's third penalty goal. The Castres pack battered away in the Leinster 22 but the visitors, following a spell of desperate defending, countered for a brilliant third try. Healy cut inside two tackles near the Castres 22 and passed for Murphy to dive over in the right corner in the 77th minute.

Although the win was now beyond them, Castres' persistence was rewarded in the dying seconds when Lamerat scrambled over from a close-in ruck.

Jamie Heaslip battles forward against Castres © Getty Images
Enlarge
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Australian GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Golf - Joburg Open
    Golf - Honda Classic
    Tennis - Dubai Championships
    Tennis - Mexican Open
  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Rugby

    Ireland stifle England out of Grand Slam chase

    A Robbie Henshaw try and a nerveless kicking performance from Jonny Sexton ensured Ireland kicked England's Grand Slam aspirations into touch in Dublin

  • Rugby

    Young try double gives Wasps victory

    Wasps continued their impressive Premiership record at the Ricoh Arena as they downed Gloucester 32-21 to claim a fourth maximum points victory of the season

  • Football

    It's frightening to think what Coutinho is worth - Rodgers

    Brendan Rodgers hailed Philippe Coutinho as "a joy to watch" after the midfielder scored a spectacular winner against Manchester City and claimed it is "frightening" to think what the Brazilian could be worth

  • Football

    Pellegrini refuses to give up Manchester City's title hopes

    Manuel Pellegrini insisted Manchester City's title challenge is not over after defeat to Liverpool but admitted it is getting more difficult for them to retain their crown

  • Football

    Liverpool can 'go far' with magicians like Coutinho

    Adam Lallana insists Liverpool will "go far" with players like Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian's brilliant winner spurred them to victory against Manchester City on Sunday

  • Rugby

    Saint-Andre's France future in the balance

    With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards

  • Rugby

    Italian bulldozers wreck Scotland revival talk

    They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay

  • Week in Words

    Giroud gets emotional

    In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Olivier Giroud gets emotional, Dimitar Berbatov is a bit smug, Arsene Wenger is hurting and Rory McIlroy is "p***** off"

  • Formula 1

    I didn't get here by being 'the son of'

    ESPN sat down with Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz in Barcelona to talk his rookie year, escaping his famous father's shadow and the step up to the big league in 2015

  • Horse Racing

    Horses for courses

    Kempton Park and which other course have a race named after Desert Orchid?

  • News
  • Features
Sponsored Links
Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!