Gutsi Munster delayed in snatching priceless Champions Cup win at Castre

Never write to Munster.

Carving out the barrel of the first European defeat of the season, he called upon the courage of old to snatch a last-gasp victory he had worked hard for.

After repeatedly fluttering his lines inside Castres 22, Munster saved the best for last as he eventually found his clinical edge, with Gavin Combs two minutes down the end to startle the home crowd.

It was a far cry from an old performance and while Munster would recognize as much, this 16-13 win on the road sealed their path to the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup. Overall, not a bad night’s work.

Munster’s Maul defense was spectacular all night, with Peter O’Mahony in front in what was generally a brutal fight.

In his first European debut, Jack Crowley held his nerve off the tee by hitting four of the four kicks and asking lots of questions to the castres defence.


Jack Crowley of Munster against Thomas Combezo of Castres Olympique during a Heineken Champions Cup Pool B match at the Stade Pierre Fabre in Castres, France. Photo: Manuel Blondeau / Sportsfile

Munster in particular showed glimpses of attacking intent in the second half, but he was out of jail thanks to his latest defense.

It was not quite the house at the Stade Pierre Fabre, where the temperature had dipped below zero, but as enthusiastic home crowds turned up the heat, pockets of traveling Münster supporters sank with enthusiasm.

Munster had to see a barrage of early pressure and as they did so, they advanced into the game, with O’Mahony winning his first two-half lineout steals.

Crowley put the audience on board in under 10 minutes and scored a well-deserved penalty to ease whatever nerves he might have had on his big night.

Niall Scannell was injured midway through the opening half, but Munster stuck to the task and launched a clever set-piece move that saw two cross-field kicks bringing Castres deep into the 22nd.

However, as they were in the first 40 minutes, Munster was extremely sluggish in the red zone.

This time it was Castres’s turn to face great pressure and, after disrupting another lineout, he went down the other end of the pitch and scored on his first visit to Munster 22.

The defense was extended and after taking a quick-tap penalty and hammering the red wall, Ben Botica looked in behind and brilliantly bowled the ball over the top to dot down full-back Thomas Laregen, To which Botika made additional additions. On a 7-3 lead after 28 minutes.


Münster’s Gavin Combs faces Jack Watten of Castres during a Heineken Champions Cup Pool B match at the Stade Pierre Fabre in Castres, France. Photo: Manuel Blondeau / Sportsfile

It could soon get worse, when powerful Fijian winger Filippo Nakosi went on a barnstorming down the left, but Munster survived and then finished half on the front foot.

O’Mahony stole another lineout, this time on the inside of Castres 22, but Munster was again guilty of forcing it, as another handling error cost him the possession, which meant he was out by four points at the break. were behind.

A trademark Tadhg Beirne came as a welcome relief soon after business resumed and it allowed Munster to create a lot of harmony with some slick play in the castress half.

To the dismay of the locals, Jack Weighton was chosen to kick Rory Scannell off the ball, which allowed Crowley to step up and bring it back into a one-point game, with Bearing to silence the crowd. With a nervous penalty.

Munster clearly growing in confidence and looking a lot more fluid, Chris Farrell made a powerful break before pinging Castres on the breakdown, which Crowley again duly punished by putting Munster in a 9-7 lead. .

But Castres soon came to the fore after Crowley was knocked out and when the hosts won a penalty from the ensuing scrum, Botica was on hand to push the ball down the middle of the post from the right.

Suddenly, it was Munster who was under the pump in the form of an audacious long-range drop-goal that subsided as the clock ticked by the hour mark.

Johan van Gran looked for reinforcements and made five substitutes in one, including veterans Connor Murray and Keith Earls and some big calls by replacing Craig Casey and Shane Daly.

Casey’s introduction suggested that Munster wanted to pick up the pace, which was no surprise as they always looked like their best route to victory.

However, the Munster boss will be tearing his hair out when Mike Haley unnecessarily drags the cockerel to the ground after the whistle blows. Referee Luke Pearce did not hesitate to hit Castres Scrum with a penalty. Botica put his side in front of 13-9.

John Hodnett wasted little time making an impact with a scary break on the bench that ended with a kickable penalty at Castres.

After a brief discussion with Crowley, O’Mahony opted to corner instead of positions, but his decision backfired as Castres stole the resulting lineout and further frustration for Munster’s poor execution inside opposition 22. added to

But they weren’t done yet. Another penalty allowed Munster to make one final roll of the dice and face a lineout from a similar position, this time holding the set-piece.

Before he stopped, Maul headed for the line. But Munster was patient, and Combs ran his way.

Crowley, as he did the entire evening, kicked off his points with confidence to give Munster another famous victory on the road.

Castre: T Lareigne (L’Le Brun 68); A. Zegdar, T. Combezo, P. Aguilan, F. Nacosi (B. Guillemin 71); B. Botica, S. Arata (R. Cockot 19); A. Tichit (J. Nostad 50), B. Humbert (P. Colonna 60), A. Gilamon (M. Tierney 50); L Jacket (Captain), J Weighton (R Peter 60); M. Kafatolu, S. Meka, B. Delaporte (H Hermet 72).

Munster: M Haley; A. Conway, C. Farrell, R. Scannell, K. Earls (S Daly 61); J. Crowley, C. Murray (C. Case 60); De Kilcoyne (Jay Lauffman 60), Ann Scannell (De Baron 19), S Archer (Jay Ryan 60); F. Wicherley (J. Klein 60), T. Beerne; P O’Mahony (capt), J O Donoghue (Jay Hodnett, 68), G Combs.

Referee: El Pierce (England).