Munster escape with share of the spoils from Castres

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Munster escape with share of the spoils from Castres

Munster's Keith Earls is tackled by Afusipa Taumoepeau of Castres Olympique during their Champions Cup fixture at Stade Pierre Fabre

MUNSTER escaped with a share of the spoils from their trip to France after an unconvincing display saw the visitors play out a 17-17 draw with Castres Olympique in their Champions Cup pool opener at Stade Pierre Fabre on Sunday.

Castres out-half Benjamin Urdapilleta was off target with both late penalty and drop goal attempts as misfiring Munster held on grimly to take two points from the Pool 4 fixture.

A frenetic first half saw tries from Robert Ebersohn and Julien Dumora for Castres and a Simon Zebo effort for Munster, with the French side 14-10 ahead at the break.

Munster had lost scrum-half Conor Murray to the sin-bin during that opening period.

A Dave Kilcoyne try for Munster in the second half look set to put them on course for a precious away victory, but the accuracy of the Irish province left a lot to be desired, as they failed to make use of the territory gained.

Next up for Munster is a crucial fixture against another French Top 14 side Racing 92 at Thomond Park on Saturday, 5.30pm.

Racing are top of Pool Four having beaten Leincester Tigers 22-18 in their opening fixture on Saturday.

SCORERS: Munster: Simon Zebo, Dave Kilcoyne tries, Tyler Bleyendaal two cons, pen. Castres Olympique: Robert Ebersohn, Julien Dumora try each, Benjamin Urdapilleta pen, two cons.

CASTRES OLYMPIQUE: Julien Dumora; Taylor Paris, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Robert Ebersohn, David Smith; Benjamin Urdapilleta, Rory Kockott; Antoine Tichit, Jody Jenneker, Daniel Kotze, Loic Jacquet, Rodrigo Capo Ortega (capt), Yannick Caballero, Steve Mafi, Maama Vaipulu. Replacements: Marc-Antoine Rallier, Mihaita Lazar, Damien Tussac, Christophe Samson, Anthony Jelonch, Ludovic Radosavljevic, Florian Vialelle, Armand Batlle.

MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Mark Flanagan, Billy Holland. Peter O'Mahony (capt), Tommy O'Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Liam O'Connor, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Jack O'Donoghue, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Andrew Conway.

REFEREE: Matthew Carley (England)