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Munster bid to maintain dazzling home form

Thursday 16th December 2021

4:30 pm (GMT)

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Munster bid to maintain dazzling home form

Munster's Andrew Conway scores a try

Munster Rugby welcome Castres Olympique to Limerick on Saturday in the Heineken Challenge Cup – and history suggests that the French club have a difficult match in store.

The Irish province have lost none of their last 14 home games in the pool stage of the competition, winning 13 and drawing one, as well as keeping their opponents under the 10-point mark in eight of those games, including in each of the last three.

The Pool B match at Thomond Park kicks off at 8pm local time and television viewers can watch it on BT Sport, beIN Sports and FR 4.

Other key facts:

  • This will be the 17th clash between Munster and Castres in the Heineken Champions Cup, the most played fixture in the history of the competition.
  • Munster have won each of their seven home games against Castres in the tournament by an average margin of 22 points.
  • Castres have lost each of their 12 away games in Ireland in the Heineken Champions Cup, 11 of them by a margin of 10+ points, and by an average margin of 23 points.
  • Castres have scored fewer than 10 points in four of their last five away games against Irish opposition in the competition.
  • Munster hooker Scott Buckley found a team-mate with each of his 15 line-out throws in Round 1. No other player attempted as many throws without missing at least one.
  • Munster winger Andrew Conway made the most line breaks in the opening round of the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup with four. He also carried the ball for 100 metres from just seven carries – no other player reached triple figures from as few carries.

Quotes:

Munster head coach Johann van Graan: “We’ve had some spicy games against Castres – if you think about our last one we played there, I think we lost 13-12. The previous one at Thomond Park was a brilliant rugby game. It’s two teams that know each other very well in Europe.”

 

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Munster top Castres in tight affair

Saturday 18th December 2021

10:22 pm (GMT)

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Munster top Castres in tight affair

Ben Healy in Heineken Champions Cup action

Munster Rugby fly-half Ben Healy kicked 14 points for the Irish province as they outlasted a stubborn Castres Olympique side in a 19-13 Heineken 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 scrum-half 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 Janaury 14.

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