Munster hold off late charge from Castres
MATCH REPORT: Munster flyhalf Ben Healy kicked 14 points for the Irish province as they outlasted a stubborn Castres Olympique side in a 19-13 Champions Cup Pool B victory.
No.8 Jack O’Donoghue notched the only try of the contest for the two-time European Champions Cup winners – a powerful carry through three defenders punctuated with a dot down in the corner on the hour mark.
Castres made it close with a late try courtesy of their own No.8 Kevin Kornath, but the hosts were able to hold out to make it two wins from two in this season’s competition.
Munster opened the scoring with a mammoth penalty from the left sideline, Ben Healy dissecting the posts with six minutes on the clock. He added a further penalty on the half-hour before Munster thought they’d notched the first try of the contest.
After a 50-22, Munster rolled through the phases deep in Castres territory.
Eventually, scrumhalf Conor Murray swept the ball wide to Damian De Allende, who broke two tackles before appearing to cross the whitewash.
The TMO got involved and adjudged De Allende to have knocked on as he grounded the ball. Munster had to settle for three points courtesy of an earlier penalty. Benjamin Urdapilleta reduced arrears by three prior to the interval.
Missed kicks from Castres’ Thomas Larregain and Munster’s Healy set the tone in a cagey second half – with Bastien Guillemen also missing a golden opportunity for a walk-in try by fumbling an interception for the French side.
On the hour mark, the TMO got involved once more as O’Donoghue appeared to dot down in the corner. Although there was a hint of a knock-on, there was inconclusive evidence so the try was awarded to the hosts.
Exchanged penalties between Urdapilleta and Healy followed before Castres scored a try of their own with three minutes left on the clock – Kevin Kornath powered over from close range after a series of pick and goes from the Castres pack.
The pair are set to look horns once again in round three when Castres host Munster on Friday, January 14.
Pens: Healy 4
Pens: Urdapilleta 2
Munster: 15 Patrick Campbell, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jack O’Donoghue, 7 John Hodnett, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 Keynan Knox, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Jack O’Sullivan, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Alex Kendellen
Castres Olympique: 15 Thomas Larregain, 14 Bastien Guillemin, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Filipo Nakosi, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Santiago Arata Perrone, 8 Kevin Kornath, 7 Simon Meka, 6 Nick Champion de Crespigny, 5 Théo Hannoyer, 4 Loic Jacquet (captain), 3 Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 1 Wayan de Benedittis.
Replacements: 16 Brice Humbert, 17 Julius Nostadt, 18 Antoine Guillamon, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Mateaki Kafatolu, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Louis Le Brun, 23 Antoine Zeghdar.
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Sara Cox (England), Jonathan Healy (England)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)