European Rugby Champions Cup: Castres 17-17 Munster

Castres centre Robert Ebersohn scored the opening try after intercepting a loose pass
Castres centre Robert Ebersohn scored the opening try after seizing on a loose pass
European Rugby Champions Cup
Castres (10) 17
Tries: Ebersohn, Dumora Con: Urdapilleta 2 Pen: Urdapilleta
Munster (10) 17
Tries: Zebo, Kilcoyne Con: Bleyendaal 2 Pen: Bleyendaal

Munster survived late pressure to take two points from their opening European Champions Cup match in Castres.

The Irish side gifted Castres centre Robert Ebersohn an early intercept try but Simon Zebo plundered a response to level the match on the half hour.

Castres replied through full-back Julien Dumora's try before a Tyler Bleyendaal penalty made it 14-10.

Munster then led through a try by David Kilcoyne but Benjamin Urdapilleta's 50th-minute penalty made it 17-17.

Argentina's Urdapilleta had a chance to snatch a home win but, in windy conditions, fluffed a penalty and he was also wide with a drop-goal attempt in stoppage time.

Munster's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus now turns his thoughts to hosting another French side, Racing 92, in Limerick on Saturday.

Racing are top of Pool Four having beaten Leicester 22-18 in their opening fixture.

Munster suffered an early setback when scrum-half Conor Murray was sin-binned after three minutes for a tap-tackle on Yannick Caballero without the ball.

Simon Zebo scored his 55th career try for Munster
Ireland outside back Simon Zebo scored his 55th career try for Munster

Just as they seemed to be emerging from a period of Castres pressure, a loose pass by Chris Farrell was pounced on by South African Ebersohn and he raced in for a breakaway try that Urdapillete converted.

Munster pulled level when returning full-back Zebo charged under the posts, picking a good line from Murray's whipped pass, and Bleyendaal added the extras.

However, Castres regained the lead within three minutes, full-back Dumora finishing off after Rodrigo Capo Ortega had made ground.

Urdapilleta landed another conversion for 14-7 but a Bleyendaal cut the deficit to 14-10 by the interval.

Munster took the lead for the only time soon after the break when quick-thinking Murray's tap penalty caught the home defence off guard and prop Kilcoyne drove over, Bleyendaal landing a fine conversion.

But Castres levelled matters with a penalty by Urdapilleta and, although there were 30 minutes left, it proved to be the game's final score.

Castres thought they had nudged ahead again just before the hour, but scrum-half Rory Kockott had put a foot in touch on his way to the line.

Munster appeared satisfied to take points away from the Stade Pierre Fabre
Munster appeared satisfied to take points away from the Stade Pierre Fabre

Castres: J Dumora, T Paris, A Taumoepeau, R Ebersohn, D Smith, B Urdapilleta, R Kockott; A Tichit, J Jenneker, D Kotze, L Jacquet, R Capo Ortega (capt), Y Caballero, S Mafi, M Vaipulu.

Replacements: Batlle for Dumora (64), Vialelle for Smith (75), Lazar for Tichit (71), Tussac for Kotze (74), Jelonch for Jacquet (55), Samson for Vaipulu (64).

Not used: Rallier, Radosavljevic.

Sin bin: Ebersohn (38).

Munster: Zebo, Sweetnam, Farrell, R. Scannell, Earls, Bleyendaal, Murray; Kilcoyne, N. Scannell, Archer, Flanagan, B. Holland, P. O'Mahony, O'Donnell, Stander.

Replacements: Conway for Sweetnam (66), Keatley for Bleyendaal (59), Marshall for N. Scannell (55), Ryan for Archer (55), Copeland for Flanagan (64), O'Donoghue for O'Donnell (70).

Not used: L. O'Connor, Williams.

Sin bin: Murray (5).

Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU).

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