Leinster survived a late video replay scare but the TMO call went in their favour and they now lead the way in their Heineken Cup pool. A 19-7 victory sees Leinster sitting pretty in Pool 1 but Matt O’Connor’s men were anything but fluid after a positive start.
Sean O’Brien, Cian Healy and Jimmy Gopperth were the standard bearers for the three-time European champions at the RDS but many of the Leinster players failed to fire against Castres. The French side squandered two kickable penalties and were camped on the Blues’ line at three different stages, coming away empty-handed each time.
Yellow cards to Remi Lamerat and Julien Tomas hobbled the Top 14 champions, who dominated for long spells of the game, and a Jack McGrath try on 67 minutes ultimately settled a tense tie at the RDS. Castres bust a collective gut in their drive for a late, losing bonus point but Pedrie Wannenburg’s double motion stretch for the line was ruled to have fallen mere millimetres short.
O’Connor said, “It wasn’t a great camera angle and you couldn’t really tell as you couldn’t see it being scored. You’d have to ask the guys out there but it wasn’t obvious on camera.” He added:
I certainly think we got out of jail with regard to them getting nothing. In don’t think we got out of jail with regard to the result. In the first-half we were, by far, the better side. They got a lucky score and we didn’t capitalise on our opportunities. They came back hard in the second half but we’ll take the four points.”
The former Leicester coach remarked that it was ‘no fluke’ that Castres were Top 14 champions and paid credit to the French side for controlling the game in the second-half. His side had, he argued, punched holes in the Castres defence without ever looking likely to rack up tries.
“You take the four points and make sure we are better next time,” O’Connor reflected.