Champions Cup: Castres Olympique v Munster

Munster are the final province to make their seasonal European bow with a tricky French assignment

Patrick Madden Sun, Oct 15
LIVE: Champions Cup: Castres Olympique v Munster

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  • Good afternoon!

    Welcome to our coverage of Munster's opening Champions Cup fixture away to Castres Olympique.

    So far, so good on the continent for the Irish this weekend - with Connacht, Leinster and Ulster all chalking up round one victories.

    Now it's the turn of the nations's true European pioneers to take the stage, and they begin with a tricky assingment in France.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action throughout the afternoon - kick off is at 1pm.

    Come on!!!

  • TEAMS:

    Castres: J Dumora; T Paris, A Taumoepeau, R Ebersohn, D Smith; B Urdapilleta, R Kockott; A Tichit, J Jenneker, D Kotze; L Jacquet, R Capo Ortega (capt); Y Caballero, S Mafi, M Vaipulu. Replacements: MA Rallier, M Lazar, D Tussac, C Samson, A Jelonch, L Radosavljevic, F Vialelle, A Batlle.
    Munster: S Zebo; D Sweetnam, C Farrell, R Scannell, K Earls; T Bleyendaal, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, S Archer; M Flanagan, B Holland; P O’Mahony (capt), T O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: R Marshall, L O’Connor, J Ryan, R Copeland, J O’Donoghue, D Williams, I Keatley, A Conway.
    Referee: M Carley (England).

  • Tomorrow marks year since the death of the great Anthony Foley, ahead of a Champions Cup fixture against Racing last season.

    On Monday evening at 9.35 RTE are airing a programme called 'Anthony Foley: Munsterman,' a tribute to Ireland's legendary number eight.

    Gavin Cummiskey has written about Foley and about the programme, you can read that HERE.

  • Simon Zebo returns at fullback for Munster today, while Conor Murray provides the x-factor at number nine. JJ Hanrahan started the defeat to Leinster last weekend but Tyler Bleyendaal is given the nod at outhalf today.

    Castres are a seriously physical, grizzled outfit - with the pack to turn this into an unforgiving arm-wrestle. Munster look light at secondrow, where Mike Flanagan and Billy Holland start - but a backrow of Peter OMahony, Tommy O'Donnell and CJ Stander is more than equipped for the French challenge.

  • 10 mins until kick off!
  • For the second consecutive season Munster find themselves in a pool with Racing and Leicester Tigers.

    They kicked pool four off yesterday, with the Parisians running out 22-18 winners at the  Stade Yves-Du-Manoir.

  • Looks a perfect day for rugby at the Stade Pierre Fabre.
  • Here come Castres and Munster.
  • Castres outhalf Urdapilleta has the ball in hand.


  • 1 min: Munster claim the kick. Slow first phase ball so they have a rumble before Murray clears with a boxkick. Good pressure on the jumper from Earls and Munster have the lineout.
  • 2 min: Good lineout ball before Murray kicks again. This time Paris is solid under the high ball and Castres have possession for the first time.  Urdapilleta kicks deep to Zebo who counters, before Stander has his first big carry.
  • 3 min: Castres slow the Munster ball down a bit and Vaipulu does well over the top after Niall Scannell carries. Castres kick for a good touch, but Flanagan helps spoil the lineout.
  • 5 min: Castres turn it over straight away though and have possession inside the Munster 10. Sharp play, with Kockott dictating at a nice tempo.


    A kick is stabbed through on the left and Murray ankle taps Caballero as he chases the ball with the try line beckoning.

  • 6 min: Castres putting the squeeze on the Munster five and the visitors concede another penalty - they need to be careful. Five-metre lineout for Castres and they set the maul but Munster do well to hold them out.

    Castres are told to use it and move it right - Dumora tries to slip it off to Paris on the touchline but Zebo gets a hand to it and the winger is hauled into touch. Zebo penalised for that touch - but he escapes the bin.

  • 8 min: Castres go for the lineout and are hammering away on the Munster five - until O'Donnell reads an inside ball and intercepts under his posts. A couple of good carries gets them up towards the 10 before Bleyendaal clears. They've done well to escape unscatheed there.
  • 11 min: Excellent work over the ball from Stander sees him win a penalty, after Paris had made a dangerous break on the right. Munster hanging in.
  • 11 min: Bleyendaal finds touch and Munster set a lineout maul, trying to eat through the minutes until Murray can return.  
  • TRY CASTRES!!!!!!
  • Munster retaining the ball well on the Castres 10, keeping it tight and simple, until Farrell throws a careless misspass which is picked off by Ebersohn, who scampers upfield and crosses under the posts.

    Easy conversion for Urdapilleta.


  • 15 min: Farrell, looking to absolve, makes a big tackle on Ebersohn and is on his feet quickly, earning a scrum for the visitors. Murray is back on now but it's a poor Munster set-piece and they concede a penalty.

    It's a long, long way out - five-metres inside the Castres half - but  Urdapilleta is going to go for goal. And he strikes it poorly, the ball barely getting over bar height.

  • 18 min: Good restart form Bleyendaal and Munster retain the ball. They work it well to Farrell on the left and build the phases up to the 10-metre. Penalty advantage for the visitors, Bleyendaal nudges it up towards the Castres 22.
  • 20 min: Munster try a move from the lineout which doesn't come off - luckily it went forward off a Castres hand. Castres munch the Munster scrum but Stander does well to pick it out under serious pressure but then they lose it, Kockott clearing.
  • 22 min: Kicks are traded before Farrell gives the ball away, giving Castres a good platform in the Munster half. The hosts have the ball centre-field inside the Munster 10. The visitors are slowing the ball down well though and Smith throws a poor pass to the wing which bobbles forward.
  • 24 min: Another big test for the Munster scrum and this time they're awarded a penalty after Tichit pulls down Archer.  
  • 25 min: Munster have been their own worst enemy so far today. They get good lineout ball and are making yards with the maul, but then the ball goes forward as Murray tries to take it off Stander. Scrappy stuff.
  • 27 min:  Urdapilleta drills a clearance straight to Zebo, who gets his first real chance to dance back at Castres and propels Munster up to the 10. Go forward ball for the visitors and Capo Ortega is harshly penalised for competing after a Niall Scannell carry. Bkleyendaal stitches the penalty into the corner.
  • 29 min: Simple lineout ball to O'Mahony and Munster grind towards the Castres line. Stander picks and is held up agonisingly short, before Kockott cynically kills it leaning over the top of the ruck. He's lucky to escape a yellow. Munster go back into the corner.
  • 30 min: Munster go to O'Mahony again and hammer away at the Castres line, Kilcoyne nearly wriggling over.
  • Patient from Munster and Murray finds Zebo on a brilliant line - the fullback riding a big hit from Taumoepeau and worming over the line.

    Bleyendaal converts - great response from Munster.


  • Castres answer with a bang. A brilliant offload releases captain Capo Ortega who makes a powerful carry into the 22. The ball is recycled quickly and Kockott pops off to fullback Dumora who dives over for the score. That was direct, clean and clinical.

    Urdapilleta converts.


  • 36 min: Chance for Munster before the break, they win a five-metre lineout and set the maul. Good counter drive from Castres so Munster move infield. Beleyendaal tries a misspass out to Earls, who is scragged as he takes it on the bounce. Penalty advantage for Munster though - they tap it quickly.

    Munster pressing under the posts until the ball is spoiled by Ebersohn, who is shown a yellow.

  • This time Munster take the three points - Bleyendaal tapping over a simple penalty.


  • 39 min: Castres restart out on the full.
  • 40 min: Munster scrum solid on the halfway and Murray works the shortside, Bleyendaal stabbing a kick in behind. Castres run a few phases before the ball goes out.
  • The teams are back out for the second half.
  • 41 min: Bleyendaal's restart doesn't give Munster much chance to challenge but they hold Castres up on the 22. The hosts run a few phases before Kockott gets the kick away to Zebo.
  • 42 min: Poor kick from Bleyendaal goes out on the full - Castres scrum inside the Munster half.
  • 43 min: Solid Munster scrum and Vaipulu does well to offer the ball back after being tackled at the base. Castres possession and they run a few phases but Munster defending well and slowing the ball down. Good defensive read from Rory Scannell and a big tackle forces a Castres knock on.
  • 45 min: Big Munster scrum and there's a bit of handbags afterwards - Castres didn't take too kindly to that.   Bleyendaal kicks the penalty to touch.
  • 46 min: Castres get a hand to the lineout but it falls for Stander who can carry up to the five.   Munster pressure, Bleyendaal with a lovely inside ball to Zebo on a fantastic line who is held up just short.  
  • TRY MUNSTER!!!!!!!!
  • Lightning from Munster and Murray, who takes a quick tap and passes to Kilcoyne who barrels over with Stander on his shoulder.

    Bleyendaal with a good conversion.


  • 49 min: Danger for Munster from a Castres scrum, and Paris has to be hauled into touch after getting on the outside.

    Castres had a penalty coming after an infringement by Murray.  Urdapilleta will go for goal - it's to the right of the posts inside the Munster 10 - and he drills it over.


  • 52 min: Castres trying to play their way out inside their own 22 under big pressure from Munster. The hosts try to ge ttoo clever and Earls picks off a pass but is quickly wrapped up. Munster back in the ascendancy but miscommunicaiton between Farrell and O'Mahony sees Munster pinged for obstruction.  Urdapilleta finds a poor touch -   Castres are playing into a stiff breeze this half.
  • 55 min: Patient build-up from Munster, keeping the ball alive on halfway. Kilcoyne makes a good carry and Munster get quick ball but then Zebo puts an attempted chip down the line straight into touch.

  • 57 min: Castres move it left and again Munster are up quickly but good hands from the hosts gives Smith a first real chance to pin his ears back. He carries down the flank but is forced to cut back inside as Munster cover. Play is then brought back for a penalty from a lineout maul after a lenghty advantage.
  • 60 min: Kockott crosses for Castres, but no score! The hosts have a lineout on the 22 and work the shortside well, Jelonch offloading to the scrumhalf who just grazes the touchline as he snipers in to finish. Let off for Munster.
  • 62 min: Big scrum for Munster to defend inside their 22, and they win a free kick. Castres counter through Vaipulu, who powers through a poor Munster defence and offloads to Dumora, who is just about tackled by Earls. Castres then move it left and  Taumoepeau is over in the corner - but Sweetnam does just enough to make him put a foot in touch.
  • 64 min: A very scrappy passage, but Munster just about held out. Zebo nearly pounces on a Castres pass in midfield but can't claim it, before a high tackle gives Castres a penalty. Kockott's kick for touch gets held up in the wind and the challenging Smith knocks it forward. Not exactly a classic, this.
  • 65 min: A good take from Smith challenging the flying Sweetmam but the red line is up quickly and the Castres winger knocks it forward on the floor.
  • 66 min: Good, grinding Munster set-piece and they win a scrum penalty on halfway.
  • Keatley to go for goal with the penalty - it's just inside the Castres half - but it fades just wide.


  • 68 min: Munster look right and Keatley makes a great arcing run on the outside shoulder, and he finds Conway who is held up on the flank. Good spell for Munster, working it left and right, but Castres defending doggedly on their five.
  • 69 min: Heroic Castres defence but Munster trying a bit too hard. It goes loose after Rory Scannell carries and then the hooker Jenneker releases the pressure with a good kick to the 10-metre, which bounces and is then knocked into touch by a Munster hand.
  • 72 min: Munster ball inside the Castres 10 but again it's turned over. Kockott chips over the line where red shirts secure it. Keatley then drills a grubber into touch outside the Castres 22 - didn't gain much territory.
  • 74 min: Another knock on gives Castres a lineout on their 22. Such a scrappy game.
  • 75 min: Good pressure from Rory Scannell forces another knock on, this time from Mafi. Chance for Munster - scrum on the right inside the Castres 10.
  • 76 min: Good ball for Munster and they move it left, Stander carrying but getting held up. Great defence from Castres again though and they win a penalty, good work from Kockott in particular. Castres kick the penalty up inside the Munster 10.
  • 77 min: Huge moment. Munster defending from a lineout maul and Kilcoyne is penalised after trying to clear out from the side.

    Urdapilleta will go for goal with the penalty - he's already slotted one from this distance.  

    For the game... misses!


  • 80 min: Castres lineout just outside the Munster 22. Jenneker hits his man and the hosts set up the maul, trying to tempt Munster into making a mistake.  

    The referee is checking with his touch judge and goes up to the TMO - replays show an infringement from Copeland at the base. He gets away with it, Castres awarded a scrum not a penalty.

  • 81 min: Castres win the ball from the scrum and have possession on the Munster 22. They're keeping it in the tight - fumbling once but retaining it. Munster need to keep their discipline.

    Urdapilleta goes for a drop goal... fades just wide!!!

  • Right, thanks for joining today - it wasn't the best but the draw might prove valuable to Munster going forward.