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SAINTS 13 CASTRES 3 As it happened

Tom Wood was outstanding in the face of stubborn Castres resistance © Getty Images

Match Report SAINTS 13 CASTRES 3 As it happened

The Saints left it late to put away Castres and boost their European quarter final hopes, but they'll need a sizeable favour from Connacht at Saracens if it is to be a Heineken last eight tie. Here's how the French champions were downed.

KO
We're underway, Saints playing towards the Sturtridge end and started by Myler...
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

1min
An early chance for Ken to stretch his legs as Saints turnover ball. Having blazed past one defender chasing a chip, he collides with the next but the hosts make the most of the pressure and will throw into the line 15m out.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

3mins
Pick and drive, pick and drive and the Saints get themselves within 5m. The ball gets stuck on the deck but it’s still going to be their put in at the scrum. Penalty follows penalty and referee Rolland is already having a word with Castres skipper Cabannes about their set piece fragility.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

9mins
A couple of fumbles see the Saints forced backward and another spill on halfway allows Martial to brilliantly scoop up a cross kick. The winger’s kick isn’t quite so impressive though and goes out on the full. Saint free to try and play clear.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

13mins
Resolute start from the visitors in defence. That’s twice now green and gold shirts have been forced backward and when Castres attack the home 22, Lawes has to move quickly to rein in Cabannes’ darting run.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

16mins
Brilliant from Myler! A Castres kick through stops narrowly short of going dead, but the Saints fly half plays matador, pirouetting around a chaser and running clear before punting a good clearance upfield. Castres kick it back but Martial can’t cling onto the high ball and Saints scrum, again.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

20mins
George steams into Kirkpatrick in midfield but a half charged down kick is reclaimed on the ground as North scampers back. It’s a short-lived attack though, Manoa making a couple of quick fire tackles and Waller winning a penalty at the very next breakdown.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

25mins
They named a strong XV and anyone expecting Castres to come to the Gardens and simply roll over have already been disproved. You’d expect nothing less from the French champions though and it is they who are spending more time on the ball in this phase of play.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

27mins
Alex Waller - called up by England Saxons for the next couple of weekends - is showing exactly why he earned that call. Along with Hartley and Ma’afu the young loose head is having a field day in the scrum and the Saints will be hoping to make more of the dominance they are enjoying.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

31mins
Finally some continuity from the Saints. Autagavaia goes through the first tackle like a wrecking ball and Manoa displays some delightful footwork to bewilder more Castres defenders. It’s another move that ends with groans though, Burrell’s attempted kick blocked and Dulin almost breaking free as the visitors charge upfield.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

35mins
CASTRES TRY! Or is it?! After a wasteful kick from George the visitors take a quick lineout and Grosso canters beneath the posts. Referee Rolland goes to the TMO though and the quick lineout was taken legally. Big let off for the Saints, who then nick the lineout. Still no score.
SAINTS 0 CASTRES 0

40mins
Finally a score, and a Saints one at that! Dickson tries to take a quick tap and with Lazar making no effort to retreat the full 10, Myler kicks a penalty to end an underwhelming half.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 0

HT
Not the way Saints would have wanted things to go, but there’s still 40mins of rugby to be played. Anyone who was here two seasons ago will fondly remember a similar game against Castres when the Saints came out and scored five unanswered tries in the second half. It’s a better visiting line-up tonight, but there’s always hope!
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 0

HT
Elsewhere Leinster have opened up what looks like an unassailable 17-3 lead against 14-man Ospreys, Ian Evans shown a red card in Dublin. The way things stand, the Saints are playing to secure an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter final.
LEINSTER 17 OSPREYS 3

40mins
The game is restarted by Castres and they almost immediately concede a penalty, picking up a knock on in an offside position. Myler puts Saints into the Castres 22.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 0

46mins
Castres making this a really scrappy game and as Dulin advances from full back, Saints are short of numbers right. Garvey hares through a gaping hole but with only Autagavaia to beat he then slips and Saints survive.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 0

49mins
The only questions being asked at the moment are by Castres. Another attack ends though with Grosso spilling the ball and his petulant kicking away of the ball brings the pantomime boos.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 0

51mins
Of all the people to get Saints going it’s Day galloping forward and beating defenders! Burrell crashes into contact and a high tackle brings a penalty that Myler sends into the corner. Right into the corner.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 0

52mins
Denman replaces Ma’afu and immediately gets his head stuck into a maul. When the ball comes free, Saints go wide but a slip from Burrell allows defenders to wrap the ball up at the cost of a penalty. More frustration.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 0

54mins
Changes for Castres too and with Kockott now in the mix, a 47m penalty is quickly pointed at the posts. It’s a rocket from Kockott and we’re back level, a huge blow from the South African from the tee.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 3

56mins
Dowson and Fotuali’i introduced as the Saints look to shake the game up. Wood’s doing his best through and in being his usual, abrasive self at the breakdown wins his side a penalty. He’s kicking and chasing too as Castres make a mess of a scrum and the flanker’s persistence means a 5m scrum for the Saints as Lamerat gets stuck in the dead ball area.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 3

61mins
They’re picking up the tempo now but another smart exchange - this time between George and Lawes - bears no fruit. It’s been one of those evenings and Saints are going to make more changes. Dickinson, Ethan and Haywood are on for Manoa, Alex and Hartley.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 3

64mins
Wood has been outstanding this second half and goes through a gap to get Saints moving yet again. It’s another contribution that goes unrewarded though as some slick handling gets a little too cute on the near side and drifts into touch. Waldouck has replaced Burrell.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 3

67mins
Penalty to Castres, even though Grosso was laying all over the ball right under the assistant’s nose. Kockott is eying up the posts again from a good 50m on the angle and after a bit of time wasting, it’s another monster kick. It’s tracking the middle of the posts but marginally short and it’s still level.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 3

69mins
Saints make their last change, Glenn Dickson’s introduction meaning an end to Autagavaia’s first Saints start. There’s just no spark in this game at the minute though.
SAINTS 3 CASTRES 3

76mins
Lawes almost breaks free and while a Castres defender coings onto his arm, Fotuali’i fires a pass into an offside defender and Myler kicks the easy three to try and give Saints a win and probable Challenge Cup progression.
SAINTS 6 CASTRES 3

80mins
SAINTS TRY!! Finally, some reward for those who’ve stayed the distance at the Gardens. A Kick is charged down and George races emphatically onto the rebound, diving over in front of the Burrda Stand. Glenn converts and ends the game.
SAINTS 13 CASTRES 3

FT
Castres were never going to be a side to yield a full five points and with things not going Saints’ way in Dublin, a win was all that mattered in the end. Still the faintest hope of a quarter final, should Connacht upset Saracens, while the four points leave them well placed for an Amlin spot. Confirmation to come on Sunday after all Round 6 results.
SAINTS 13 CASTRES 3

TIMELINE
40mins SAINTS Pen Myler 3-0
HALF-TIME SAINTS 3 CASTRES 0
55mins CASTRES Pen Kockott 3-3
68mins CASTRES Miss pen Kockott
77mins SAINTS Pen Myler 6-3
80mins SAINTS Try G Pisi Con G Dickson
FULL-TIME SAINTS 13 CASTRES 3

SAINTS Autagavaia; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, L Dickson; A Waller, Hartley, Ma'afu, Lawes, Day, Clark, Wood, Manoa

Reps - Haywood, E Waller, Mercey, Dickinson, Dowson, Fotuali’i G Dickson, Waldouck

CASTRES Dulin; Garvey, Cabannes, Lamerat, Grosso; Kirkpatrick, Tomas; Forestier, Rallier, Peikrishvili, Samson, Gray, Babillot, Bornman, Faasalele

Reps - Taumoepeau, Coetzee, Lazar, Desroche, Caballero, Kockott, Bonnefond

Heineken Cup Man of the Match: Tom Wood

Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)

Att: 12,302

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