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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 December, 2004, 19:17 GMT
Munster 36-8 Castres
Marcus Horan (right) tries to get a tackle in on Castres' David Bory
Munster (17) 36
Tries: Foley, Leamy, O'Connell, Sheahan, Cullen
Con: O'Gara (3), Burke
Pen: O'Gara
Castres (8) 8
Try: Lhande
Pen: Marticorena
Munster got their Heineken Cup campaign back on track by recovering from a bad start to beat Castres.

Benjamin's Lhande's try was all Castres had to show for their first quarter domination as they attempted to claim back-to-back wins over the Irish side.

Munster hit back through Anthony Foley and Denis Leamy tries to claim a fortunate 17-8 lead at the interval.

Second half tries from Paul O'Connell, Frankie Sheahan and Christian Cullen ensured Munster's bonus point.

Lhande's fourth minute try past a flat-footed Munster defence came after a tremendous dart by full-back Ugo Mola.

The Irish province suffered another blow when Donnacha O'Callaghan was sin-binned in the eighth minute for throwing a punch in a ruck.

With a man advantage, Castres continued to dominate but slack handling meant they didn't add to their lead despite putting the Munster defence under intense pressure.

We were hurt after being beaten by them last weekend
Munster's Paul O'Connell

Munster lifted the siege midway through the first half and almost scored a pushover try from their first serious attack.

The rolling maul saw the entire Munster pack dive over the Castres line but the video referee, correctly ruled that it was impossible to judge whether the ball had been grounded.

However, Munster continued their fightback and there was no doubt about Anthony Foley's score when he broke through some weak Castres tackling to touch down three minutes later.

By that stage, Munster had a man advantage after the sin-binning of Castres prop Mauricio Reggiardo.

O'Gara's conversion edged Munster into a fortunate lead but Castres were ahead again within six minutes when Laurent Marticorena struck a penalty from in front of the posts after an offside infringement.

However, Munster hit back deep into first half injury-time to notch two scores which put them into an unlikely 17-8 interval lead.

Firstly, Denis Leamy dived over the Castres line after another forward rumble.

We denied Castres a bonus point so it's job done
Paul O'Connell

O'Gara converted the try and there was still time to add another three points from a penalty after some more Castres indiscipline.

Munster started the second half as they had finished the first period with the Castres defence put under intense pressure.

Any doubt about the winner of the contest was ended when O'Connell burst through for another try in the 50th minute and O'Gara's sensational conversion from the touchline extended Munster's lead to 24-8.

Ireland internationals O'Gara and Justin Fitzpatrick then both earned a 10-minute spell on the touchline after indulging in some mild fisticuffs.

Castres prop Alessio Galasso was then harshly red-carded after another off-the-ball skirmish when several players had got involved.

Frankie Sheahan's 68th minute try ensured the bonus point and Christian Cullen notched Munster's fifth try in injury-time.

  • Galasso has been suspended for two weeks following a disciplinary hearing conducted by match commissioner Ciaran Callan.

    Munster: Cullen; Payne, Mullins, Henderson, Horgan; O'Gara, Stringer; Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, Quinlan, Leamy, Foley, capt.
    Replacements: Blaney, McIlwham, Hogan, Williams, Prendergast, Burke, Lawlor.

    Castres: Mola, Lhande, Dourthe, Marticorena, Bory, Sadourny, Albouy, Reggiardo, Vigneaux, Galasso, Nallet, Capo, Froment, Bias, Volley.
    Replacements: Argenese, Fitzpatrick, Barrier, Deen, Raffault, Metcalfe, Morales.

    Referee: Roy Maybank (RFU).


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