European Champions Cup: Leinster 50-8 Castres
|Leinster (31) 50|
|Tries: D Kearney, Moore, Reddan, Cronin, Furlong, Fanning, L McGrath Cons: Madigan 6 Pens: Madigan|
|Castres (3) 8|
|Tries: Martial Pens: Kockott|
Leinster stayed in contention for a European Champions Cup quarter-final spot as they earned a seven-try bonus-point win over Castres at the RDS.
Dave Kearney's early try sent Leinster on their way after a quick Eoin Reddan pass had split the Castres defence.
The bonus point was secured by half-time after further touchdowns by Marty Moore, Reddan and hooker Sean Cronin.
Tadhg Furlong, Darragh Fanning and Luke McGrath added further Leinster tries with Romain Martial replying.
Leinster now lead Pool 2 but will face a tough final fixture next weekend against Wasps who surprised Harlequins on Saturday evening to move into second spot in the table, two points behind the Irish province.
Matt O'Connor's Leinster side welcomed back skipper Jamie Heaslip, Moore and Fergus McFadden after injury in Saturday's game and the trio's return helped the three-times European champions produce probably their best display of the season.
However, it was against a Castres that have struggled badly in Europe and in the Top 14 this season, where they are currently 13th.
Leinster are the only remaining Irish contenders in Europe's premier competition after Munster exited on Saturday following their heavy Pool 1 defeat by Saracens.
Quick line-out ball helped Leinster get off to the perfect start in the third minute after Reddan's pass found Jimmy Gopperth who then released a charging Dave Kearney to score, with Ian Madigan adding the extras.
Castres scrum-half Rory Kockott and Madigan swapped penalties at either end before Moore's 28th-minute try extended Leinster's lead to 17-3 with Madigan again converting.
The French champions looked to have hit back with a try of their own two minutes later as the impressive Marcel Garvey appeared to have scored but the television match officials harshly judged that the wing had produced a double movement before grounding.
Castres coach David Darricarrere was infuriated by the decision and his mood wasn't improved three minutes as the lively Reddan was correctly judged to have grounded by the TMO after a Jordi Murphy off-load.
Cronin produced one of his typical bursts of speed to secure the bonus-point try a minute before the break as Madigan's conversion pushed Leinster's lead to 31-3.
Castres produced pressure after the resumption without scoring and wing Garvey had to make a superb tackle to prevent Rob Kearney from scoring a breakaway try after the Ireland full-back's stunning bit of fielding on his own line was followed by a lightning break.
Tries from replacements Furlong and Fanning helped extend Leinster's lead to 43-3 before Martial notched a reply for the visitors.
However, replacement scrum-half McGrath burst through some more weak tackling to score the final try of the match three minutes from time.
Leinster: R Kearney; McFadden, Fitzgerald, Madigan, D Kearney; Gopperth, Reddan; Bent, Cronin, Moore, Toner, M. McCarthy, Conan, J Murphy, J Heaslip.
Replacements: Fanning for R. Kearney (68), Douglas for Gopperth (63), L McGrath for Reddan (59), Hagan for Bent (52), Strauss for Cronin (52), Furlong for Moore (52), D'Arcy for M McCarthy (63), Ryan for J Heaslip (52).
Castres: Dumora; Martial, Combezou, Cabannes, Garvey; Kirkpatrick, Kockott; Taumoepeau, Rallier, Herrera, Gray, Samson, Diarra, Bornman, Beattie.
Replacements: Tales for Cabannes (60), Montes for Garvey (68), Grosso for Kirkpatrick (64), Fa'anunu for Taumoepeau (60), Bonello for Rallier (60), Desroche for Samson (49), Faasalele for Bornman (49).
Not Used: Dupont.
Sin Bin: Diarra (27).