Saturday 23 June 2018

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Huge test awaits from Top 14 visitors

Castres ran in five tries at home to Leicester Tigers last weekend (stock picture)
Castres ran in five tries at home to Leicester Tigers last weekend (stock picture)

Declan Rooney

On Sunday afternoon Munster's Champions Cup fate will be decided when they take on Castres in the final Pool 4 game, but this is far from a guaranteed win for Munster.

Last weekend Castres ran in five tries at home to Leicester Tigers, although that win has to be balanced with the fact that Tigers made 13 changes to the side that defeated London Irish in the Premiership the previous week, with hopes of progression to the knockout stages gone for the Welford Road outfit.

That win was in the bag long before half-time as Castres powered their way to 20-0 lead thanks to tries from Benjamin Urdapilleta and Thomas Combezou, and while Urdapilleta was also on song from the tee, it was Combezou's second try that helped his side into a 27-0 lead at the break.

After the resumption it was Armand Batlle who shone for Castres with tries in the 47th and 76th minutes as Tigers collapsed and failed to score for the second time in a year - Munster also kept them scoreless them at Thomond Park in last season's competition.

With one round to go, Munster currently lead Racing 92 by one point and Castres by four in the standings, but the Parisian side are likely to face a weakened Tigers side at Welford Road. However, with a proud European tradition to defend, Leicester should put up a solid display, especially having tasted defeat there to Munster already in this pool.

Irish Independent

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