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)