Leinster stay alive in Europe by beating Castres

Leinster kept their hopes of qualification for the European Rugby Champions Cup alive by beating Castres 50-8 at the RDS and taking maximum points from the clash.

The result is Leinster’s biggest European Cup victory in nine years and they scored seven tries in all.

Ian Madigan kicked 15 points including six conversions as Leinster ran riot at the RDS Showground.

David Kearney, Marty Moore, Eoin Reddan and Sean Cronin all scored in the first half to secure a bonus-point by the break.

Matt O’Connor then turned to the bench in the second half and will have been pleased with the show of strength in depth as replacements Tadhg Furlong, Darrag Fanning and Luke McGrath completed the comfortable win that sets up a decisive clash against Wasps at Ricoh Arena in the final round.

There was an air of expectancy at the RDS Showground – where Leinster had only once lost a European tie – against the bottom side in Pool 2.

And it took Dave Kearney less than three minutes to get the former champions on course for a bonus-point win.

It stemmed from their dominance up front, having taken a scrum against the head and then provided an attacking platform from the lineout.

Kockott cut the lead to four points with a 22nd-minute penalty but that was to be as close as Castres would come to Leinster.

Maddigan kicked three points and Leinster were then handed a opportunity against 14 men when Castres flanker Ibrahim Diarra was binned for infringing.

They took that chance in style as Moore and Reddan both crossed during the ten-minute advantage.

The seven Castres forwards could not prevent the Leinster pack rumbling over and Moore helped himself to his first European try.

Marcus Garvey thought he had clawed back a score for the French after speeding past three defenders but was ruled to used a double movement to touch down.

Moments later and Reddan was on the right side of TMO decision after wriggling over for a third and Cronin burst through for the bonus point on the stroke of half-time.

The RDS was brought to its feet by Rob Kearney’s wonderful leap to snatch a high kick before racing up field but the Ireland full-back was denied a try, chased down agonisingly short by Garvey.

Prop Furlong had no such trouble when he burst onto Richardt Strauss’ pass.

Fellow replacement Fanning then claimed Leinster’s sixth from Luke McGrath’s delightful inside pass after Benjamin Desroche saw his effort ruled out for a forward pass.

Having seen two tries ruled out by the video referee, Castres finally secured their first try at the third attempt when Romain Martial scooped up a loose ball to cross in the 70th minute.

But there was still time for Leinster to score again when McGrath sped through two minutes from time.

Final Score Leinster 50 (31) Castres 8 (3)

Scorers

Leinster
Tries : Kearney, Moore, Reddan, Cronin, Furlong, Fanning, McGrath
Pen : Madigan
Con : Madigan (6)
Drop :

Castres
Tries : Kockott
Pen : Martial
Con :
Drop :

Match Officials
Referee
: Marius Mitrea (Italy),
Assistant ref: Matteo Liperini (Italy),
Assistant ref: Stefano Penne (Italy),
TMO: Mauro Dordolo (Italy),
Citing Commissioner: Mike Rafter (England)

Teams

Leinster Rugby: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Luke Fitzgerald, Ian Madigan, Dave Kearney; Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan; Michael Bent, Sean Cronin, Martin Moore, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Jack Conan, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip (c)

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Jamie Hagan, Tadhg Furlong, Kane Douglas, Dominic Ryan, Luke McGrath, Gordon D’Arcy, Darragh Fanning

Castres Olympique: Julien Dumora; Romain Martial, Thomas Combezou, Romain Cabannes (c), Marcel Garvey; Daniel Kirkpatrick, Rory Kockott; Saimone Taumoepeau, Marc-Antoine Rallier, Ramiro Herrera, Richie Gray, Christophe Samson, Ibrahim Diarra, Jannie Bornman, Johnnie Beattie

Replacements: Mathieu Bonello, Paea Faanunu, Benjamin Desroche, Yohan Montes, Piula Faasalele, Remi Tales, Remi Grosso, Antoine Dupont

With thanks to EPCRugby.

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