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Munster seek to continue Castres dominance

Wednesday 12th January 2022

10:00 am (GMT)

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Munster seek to continue Castres dominance

Munster Rugby's Damian de Allende in action against ASM Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Champions Cup

Munster Rugby will look to maintain their outstanding record against Castres Olympique when they travel to Stade Pierre Fabre in Round 3 of the Heineken Champions Cup on Friday night.

Castres have only won one of their last 10 games against the Irish province, losing eight, although that victory came the last time they hosted the Irish province in 2018/19, when they edged home 13-12.

The Pool B encounter begins at 8pm UK and Irish time, and is being shown live on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.

Other key facts:

  • This will be the 18th clash between Munster Rugby and Castres Olympique in the Heineken Champions Cup, the most played fixture in the history of the competition.
  • Castres’ defeat against Harlequins in Round 1 ended a run of nine games unbeaten at home in the Heineken Champions Cup (W7 D2). The last time they suffered consecutive home defeats in the competition was in 2014/15.
  • Munster won their last away game in France in the Heineken Champions Cup (39-31 v ASM Clermont Auvergne in Round 2, 2020/21) but have not won consecutive away games against TOP 14 opposition since 2009 (v Montauban and USAP).
  • Castres fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta has successfully kicked each of his four penalty goal attempts in the Heineken Champions Cup this season. Only Ulster’s John Cooney (6/6) has attempted more penalty goals without missing after the opening two rounds.
  • Munster centre Damian de Allende has beaten 12 defenders in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, the most of any player, while teammate Andrew Conway has made the most line breaks after two rounds (4).

Quotes:

Munster head coach Johann van Graan: “We are going to have perform. It will be tight. Who knows what will happen in the other games, so you might have to wait quite a bit to know where your fate lies.” 

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Coombes the hero as Munster stun Castres

Friday 14th January 2022

11:13 pm (GMT)

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Coombes the hero as Munster stun Castres

Munster's Gavin Coombes scores the game-winning try against Castres

Munster Rugby No.8 Gavin Coombes scored a try in the dying moments as the Irish province stole a dramatic 16-13 win at Castres Olympique in the Heineken Champions Cup on Friday evening.

Castres looked to have done enough to earn a first win in Pool B, but Coombes planted down emphatically from close range to seal his side’s qualification for the Round of 16.

Munster took the lead on 10 minutes through 22-year-old fly-half Jack Crowley, who nudged the first of his three penalties at Stade Pierre Fabre.

The United Rugby Championship outfit were frustrated for large spells of the game though, and they fell behind on 27 minutes as Castres full-back Thomas Larregain dived onto a delightful kick from fly-half Ben Botica.

Botica’s conversion proved to be the final points of a scrappy first half, with Castres heading into the break with a four-point lead.

That cushion was reduced to one point when Crowley slotted his second penalty of the evening on 46 minutes, and Munster were back in front as he dissected the posts with another moments later.

Castres wrestled back control of the contest, however, with Botica kicking two three-pointers around the hour mark to leave Munster with an uphill task over the remainder of the game.

The TOP 14 side produced commendable defence throughout the encounter as repeated handling errors saw Munster’s hopes begin to fade away.

But a lineout five metres out gave the visitors a platform to try steal something from the match with just over three minutes to play, with Coombes powering through the contact to reach out and dot down in spectacular fashion.

Crowley’s conversion capped his assured display, and Munster saw out the remaining moments to make it three wins from three in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Castres visit Harlequins in Round 4 next weekend, while Munster host Wasps.

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