Updated: Sunday, 12 Jan 2014 16:00 | Comments
Leinster reasserted their control of Heineken Cup Pool One by ending Castres’ proud 18-match home record at Stade Pierre-Antoine, 29-22.
Castres’ most recent home defeat was against Ulster last January and they fell to another Irish province here despite establishing a 14-0 lead and dominating the scrum.
The under-strength Castres team ended the first quarter in full control as full-back Brice Dulin touched down to add to Scotland and Lions lock Richie Gray’s opening try.
Jimmy Gopperth scored two tries in response, the second coming in first-half injury time, as Leinster closed the gap to 17-12 at the interval.
It was a real war of attrition in the concluding 40 minutes and Matt O’Connor’s men gained vital momentum on the hour mark, courtesy of three Gopperth penalties and a drop goal from Rob Kearney on his 50th Heineken Cup appearance.
Flanker Jordi Murphy then claimed his first European try to put the result beyond doubt, while Castres capitalised on Sean Cronin’s sin-binning to score an injury-time consolation try through Remi Lamerat.
Leinster remain four points clear of nearest rivals Northampton Saints in Pool One, who beat Ospreys 29-17 in Wales.
More to follow…