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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 18 April, 2019
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Madigan kicks 21 points to help Leinster overcome stubborn Castres

The centre kicked seven penalties to bring his side a second win from two European outings this season.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Castres 16

Leinster 21

SEVEN PENALTIES FROM Ian Madigan gave Leinster a hard fought Champions Cup Pool 2 win over Castres in the Stade Pierre-Antoine.

All Leinster’s pre-match talk of starting well and denying the hosts an early lead was quickly bulldozed away as the hosts mauled their way to a 7 – 0 lead after seven minutes. Saimone Taumoepeau the man to emerge from the mound of bodies with the ball.

To credit the eastern province, they didn’t wilt at the prospect of chasing down yet another lead. Geoffrey Palis added the conversion to make it a maximum score but the rest of the half belonged to Leinster. Albeit a half characterised by a solid blue wall of defence.

Luke Fitzgerald is tackled by Piula Faasalele Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The chances that did fall to Leinster, fell to Madigan. The centre taking aim from distance four times and putting Leinster into a 7 – 9 lead before his accuracy failed him on the stroke of half time.

And after the break it was a rare two misses in a row for the specialist off the tee.

Castres fullback Palis had just kicked the Top 14 club into the lead when a powerful Jamie Heaslip carry provided a rare solid central platform in the opposition 22.

Leinster however, were unable to generate quick ball they needed from 15 metres out and Castres were happy to concede a chance of three points rather than five. Leinster came away with neither; Madigan uncharacteristically dragging an effort onto the outside of the left post.

Range

That frustration appeared to seep into the pack too. And from a position of dominance at the interval, Leinster were the ones conceding cheap penalties which Palis duly picked off and turned a 40-minute deficit into a seven-point advantage by the 55th minute.

After Gordon D’Arcy ended his 100th European appearance prematurely, Madigan rediscovered his range. And after flowing one way, it was time for the game to ebb another. Heading into the final 10 minutes, the number 12′s two successful kicks reducing the arrears to a minimum.

In a game thin on line-breaks, the introduction of Eoin Reddan brought a welcome injection of chaos late on. First the Limerick man broke off the back of a scrum 30 metres from his own try-line. He was quickly caught and turned over, but the burst allowed a sufficient level of panic in the home side and they soon knocked on and returned the ball to their guests.

Leinster rumbled in-field and when Piula Faasalele tackled Heaslip around the neck within spitting distance from the referee, the score was meat and drink for Madigan.

A big Reddan boot soon after ensured the final portion of the game would be played in French territory. The replacement scrum-half still had a break, and the Castres pack still had one moment of indiscipline left in them to allow Madigan finish a game in which he dominated the scoreboard.

The result leaves Leinster top of Pool 2 with eight points before Wasps meet Harlequins at 17.15 this afternoon.

Scorers

 

Castres

Try: S Taumoepeau

Conversion: G Palis

Penalties: G Palis (3)

Leinster:

Penalties: I Madigan (7)

Castres Olympique: Geoffrey Palis; Max Evans, Christopher Tuatara, Romain Cabannes, Remi Grosso; Remi Tales (c), Cedric Garcia; Saimone Taumoepeau, Brice Mach, Ramiro Herrera, Richie Gray, Rodrigo Capo Ortega, Piula Faasalele, Yannick Caballero, Jannie Bornman.

Replacements: Mathieu Bonello, Mihaita Lazar, Yohan Montes, Christophe Samson, Ibrahim Diarra, Romain Martial, Julien Dumora, Antoine Dupont

Leinster Rugby: Zane Kirchner; Darragh Fanning, Gordon D’Arcy, Ian Madigan, Luke Fitzgerald; Jimmy Gopperth, Isaac Boss; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Kane Douglas, Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Jamie Heaslip (c)

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Ed Byrne, Tadhg Furlong, Mike McCarthy, Jack Conan, Eoin Reddan, Noel Reid, Mick McGrath

As it happened: Castres vs Leinster, Champions Cup

100 not out: Gordon D’Arcy’s career in numbers to mark a century of European caps

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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