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European round-up: Munster share the points with Castres

Fiona Tomas

16 Oct 2017

Munster drew their opening Champions Cup game in thrilling circumstances in France while Scarlets and Ospreys both launched second-half comebacks to earn losing bonus points.

The Irish province reached the semi-finals of this competition last year and took two points away from France after Simon Zebo and Dave Kilcoyne got the tries.

Elsewhere, Leigh Halfpenny inspired Scarlets to a well-deserved bonus point against his former club Toulon as he scored a try and kicked ten points.

And in the final match of the weekend, Dan Evans scored two tries to earn Ospreys a losing bonus point against French giants Clermont Auvergne.

Flying Zebo adds to Munster tally

Zebo touched down for his 55th try in a Munster jersey as the Irish province took two points from their opening weekend trip to Castres in the Champions Cup.

Munster trailed to an early Robert Ebersohn score whilst Conor Murray was in the sin bin with Julien Dumora’s try putting the French side 14-7 ahead.

A Tyler Bleyendaal penalty reduced the deficit and Munster went ahead 17-14 when Kilcoyne touched down after 48 minutes in France.

Castres fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta levelled the scores three minutes later but was unable to sneak the win for his side with a last-second drop-goal as the points were shared.

“[A draw] is definitely not what we wanted, we would have loved more, but I guess when we start next week it’s better to see two on the board than zero,” Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said.

“Castres have only lost once at home this season. They’re a difficult team to play. They’re passionate, intense, but that doesn’t take away from the excuse we could have won the game.

“We were maybe a little bit naive sometimes, but we’ll try and learn from that.”

Halfpenny inspires Scarlets comeback

Scarlets took home a well-deserved losing bonus point from Toulon after a stirring second half comeback inspired by Leigh Halfpenny.

The Welsh full-back, who lifted the Champions Cup with Toulon, scored a try and kicked ten points, with Johnny McNicholl also crossing, as Scarlets fought back from 18-0 down to lead by two points.

Francois Trinh-Duc’s penalty ended the Scarlets dream of a win at Stade Mayol but the Guinness PRO14 champions will take huge confidence from their performance.

Scarlets captain Scott Williams said: “We knew we were good enough to come out here and win, and we spoke all week about that first 20 minutes.

“They were going to come out at us hard like they did last year and we just didn’t do that. Giving them a 15-point head start you just can’t do that.

“We did well to come back in the second half and go into the lead but we were disappointed at the end not to see the game out.”

Evans double at heart of Ospreys fightback

In the final game of the weekend for the Guinness PRO14 clubs, Ospreys fought back valiantly to earn a losing bonus point against Clermont Auvergne.

Welsh scrum-half Rhys Webb dotted down in a first half which saw the French side score two tries and lead 20-7 at the Liberty Stadium.

But two tries from Dan Evans gave the Ospreys hope of victory in the second 40 and they deserved their losing bonus point. Ospreys travel to Saracens next weekend.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie