Heineken Cup Pool Six: Castres 22-29 Leinster

CASTRES (17) 22

  • Tries: Gray, Dulin, Lamerat
  • Cons: Garcia 2
  • Pen: Garcia

LEINSTER (12) 29

  • Tries: Gopperth 2, Murphy
  • Con: Gopperth
  • Pens: Gopperth 3
  • Drop goal: R Kearney

Jimmy Gopperth justified his selection over Ian Madigan at fly-half by scoring two tries as Leinster came from 14-0 down to beat Castres in France.

Scotland lock Richie Gray scored the first try for Castres with Brice Dulin getting the second in the 21st minute.

Gopperth scrambled over for a try after a fine break by Luke Fitzgerald and scored again seconds before half-time while Jordi Murphy got the third try.

Centre Remi Lamerat's late touch down earned Castres a losing bonus point.

Heineken Cup Pool Six

P W D L Pts

Leinster

5

4

0

1

17

Northampton

5

3

0

2

13

Castres

5

2

0

3

9

Ospreys

5

1

0

4

5

It was far from Leinster's best display of the season but the hard-earned victory means they are virtually assured of a place in the quarter-finals.

The Irish province remain top of Pool Six, four points ahead of second-placed Northampton who ran out 29-17 victors over Ospreys in Swansea.

It was Castres' first home defeat in 19 games, but they started well, scoring a fantastic opening try when Remi Lamerat's mazy run set up Gray to score.

Lamerat then played a part in the second try, bumping off a couple of tackles before feeding winger Remi Grosso who passed back inside to full-back Dulin for a second great try for the French side.

But Castres were left kicking themselves after conceding a soft try from a scrum 10 metres from their own line, Gopperth skipping through some weak defence to dot down.

Kiwi Gopperth claimed a second try shortly after, driving over from close range to leave it 17-12 at half-time.

Gopperth then drew Leinster to within two points with a penalty and full-back Rob Kearney then nailed a long-range drop-goal to edge the Irish province into an 18-17 lead.

Momentum had truly swung Leinster's way, Gopperth kicking a quick brace of penalties for a 24-17 lead.

Flanker Murphy was played in for Leinster's third try to seal a vital win, Lamerat scoring a deserved late consolation try for the home side.

TEAM LINE-UPS

Castres: B Dulin; R Grosso, S Bai, R Lamerat, M Evans: R Tales (capt), C Garcia: Y Forestier, M-A Rallier, K Wihongi, R Gray, C Samson; M Babillot, I Diarra, P Faasalele,

Replacements: Garvey for Bai (65), Lazar for Garcia (60), Tomas for Forestier (60), Mach for Rallier (51), Peikrishvili for Wihongi (51), Caballero for Diarra (62), Desroche for Faasalele (69).

Leinster: R Kearney; D Kearney, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Gopperth, E Reddan; J McGrath, S Cronin, M Ross, D Toner, M McCarthy, K McLaughlin, J Murphy, J Heaslip (capt).

Replacements: Madigan for D'Arcy (75), Boss for Reddan (65), Healy for J. McGrath (60), Moore for Ross (60), Cullen for McCarthy (65), Jennings for K. McLaughlin (51).

Not used: Dundon, Kirchner.

Sin bin: S. Cronin (69).

Attendance: 11,150

Referee: Nigel Owens.