Munster number eight Gavin Coombes reaches out to score the match winning try against Castres at the Stade Pierre Fabre on Friday night
RESILIENT Munster Rugy secured their place in the knock-out stages of the Heineken Champions Cup after securing a dramatic 16-13 come-from-behind win over Castres Olympique at Stade Pierre Fabre on Friday night.
A 78th minute try from number eight Gavin Coombes, converted by out-half Jack Crowley, helped Munster secure a third successive victory in the pool stages of this season's Champions Cup and with it a spot in the last 16 stage of the competition.
No French side has managed to win at Stade Pierre Fabre in the Top 14 this season.
Munster took a first quarter lead through a Jack Crowley penalty after Castres were penalised for going off their feet at te breakdown and the young out-half duly dissected the posts.
Munster enjoyed the upperhand in a scrappy opening half an hour, but some good approach play was spoiled inside the Casres '22 by a number of unforced errors, including a couple of stray line-outs.
The home side hit the front in 27 minutes with the game's opening try following a moment of quality from out-half Ben Botica.
The fly-half dinked a delightful kick in behind the Munster defence off the outside of his left boot and Thomas Larregain dived on the ball to score.
Castres led 7-3 at half-time, but two penalty goals from young out-half Crowley helped Munster turn things around in the third quarter as the visitors earned a 9-7 lead.
However, the complexion of a very scrappy contest changed again when two Botica penalties helped the home side regain the lead at 13-9.
Castres looked all set to secure their first win of this season's Champions Cup, before that late converted try saw Munster strike late to claim the four precious points on offer.
CASTRES OLYMPIQUE: Thomas Larregain, Antoine Zeghdar, Thomas Combezou, Pierre Aguillon, Filipo Nakosi, Ben Botica, Santiago Arata Perrone; Antoine Tichit, Brice Humbert, Antoine Guillamon, Loic Jacquet (c), Jack Whetton, Mateaki Kafatolu, Simon Meka, Baptiste Delaporte. Replacements: Pierre Colonna, Julius Nostadt, Matthew Tierney, Ryno Pieterse, Hugo Hermet, Rory Kockott, Louis Le Brun, Bastien Guillemin.
MUNSTER RUGBY: Mike Haley, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls, JacK Crowley, Conor Murray, Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony (c), Jack O'Donoghue, Gavin Coombes. Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, John Hodnett, Craig Casey, Jake Flannery, Shane Daly.
REFEREE: Luke Pearce (England)
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