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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 21:25 GMT
Castres 16-20 Sale Sharks
Jason Robinson in action for Sale
Castres 16 (7)
Try: Capo Ortega
Con: Teulet
Pens: Teulet 3
Sale 20 (10)
Tries: Robinson, White
Cons: Hodgson 2
Pens: Hodgson 2
Sale took a giant step towards a Heineken Cup quarter-final spot with a hard-earned away win over Castres.

The Sharks trailed 7-3 to a try from Castres' Rodrigo Capo Ortega but a converted Jason Robinson try put the visitors 10-7 up at half-time.

Jason White's try five minutes after the resumption put the Sharks in command but three Romain Teulet penalties brought Castres to 16-17.

But Charlie Hodgson's second penalty 14 minutes from time sealed victory.

It was the Sharks' third straight pool victory, and their second away from home after beating the Dragons in Newport.

Another win in the return fixture with Castres next weekend would see them as firm favourites to qualify for the knock-out stages for the first time.

Scottish flanker White was immense as the Sharks pack subdued the much-feared Castres scrum, and the deadly boot of England fly-half Hodgson did the rest.

It was not all one-way traffic, with a 20m rolling maul from a Castres pack boasting All Blacks props Kees Meeuws and Carl Hoeft resulting in the opening try from lock Capo Ortega.

But the 39th-minute sin-binning of scrum-half Mathieu Barrau allowed Robinson to elude the Castres defence with the last move of the first half.

After White's second try, Sale were reduced to 14 men themselves when scrum-half Sililo Martens was yellow-carded for a high tackle.

Teulet's kicks ensured a nervous finale, but Hodgson gave Sale some breathing space with another penalty and the Sharks' defence held firm for a notable win.

  • Sale captain Jason Robinson:
    "It's a great result for us. Castres are a very strong team - especially at home - and I think we showed great character in coming through and winning this game.

    "I think it's our best win in Europe, but it's still early days for us.

    "Our team's going to get better and although we're not going to get carried away, we're certainly going to enjoy this and look forward to next week."

    Castres: R Teulet; L Milford, N Raffault, P Christophers, R Ropati; Y Delaigue, A Albouy; C Hoeft, R Vigneaux, K Meeuws (capt), K Ghezal, L Nallet, J Puricelli, P Volley, F Faure.
    Replacements: D Roumieu, Y Forestier, J Castex, F Capo Ortega, G Taussac, F Tuilagi, M Barrau.

    Sharks: D Larrechea; M Cueto, M Taylor, E Seveali'i, J Robinson (capt); C Hodgson, S Martens; A Sheridan, S Bruno, S Turner, C Jones, D Schofield, J White, M Lund, S Chabal.
    Replacements: A Titterrell, B Stewart, I Fernandez Lobbe, N Bonner Evans, R Wigglesworth, V Courrent, R Todd.

    Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland).

    Heineken Cup 2005/6
    05 Jul 05 |  European Club
    Dragons 11-38 Sale
    28 Oct 05 |  European Club
    Munster 42-16 Castres
    29 Oct 05 |  European Club
    Castres 29-24 Dragons
    22 Oct 05 |  European Club
    Sale 27-13 Munster
    21 Oct 05 |  European Club


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