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banner Saturday, 7 October, 2000, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Preston guides Bath to victory
Castres centre Eric Artiguste and Bath's Mike Tindall
Castres centre Eric Artiguste (right) gets the ball from Bath's Mike Tindall
Bath 25-13 Castres

Bath were thankful for the precise kicking of Jon Preston as they saw off Castres in their first game of the Heineken Cup.

The former All Black kicked dix penalties and a conversion to ensure that the hosts saw off a late rally from their opponents.

Chief coach Jon Callard's decision to reinstate Preston, albeit at fly-half rather than scrum-half, was entirely justified.

Preston was dominant in other areas to give the Bath back line a much more positive look than of late.

After ex-Lion fly-half Gregor Townsend opened the scoring with a penalty on three minutes for the visitors, Preston prised open the Castres defence by putting Phil de Glanville through a gap.

Although the try did not materialise Castres were caught offside and the New Zealander levelled the scores.

Initiative

Two more penalties gave Bath the initiative before Preston worked a loop with de Granville and sent Matt Perry clear on the outside.

Number eight Dan Lyle was perfectly placed on the England full-back's shoulder to score under the post.

Penalties apiece for Townsend and Preston left Bath ahead at the break before Preston added another nine minutes into the second half.

One area of the game in which Castres held the upper hand was the scrummage, but former Lions lock Jeremy Davidson must have been disappointed at their failure to capitalise.

Even when John Mallett was sin-binned for the second time in two weeks, this time for punching, Castres failed to make their numerical superiority count.

Preston landed his sixth penalty in the 74th minute and it was not until injury time that Castres managed to work number eight Ismella Lassissi over for a try from a touch penalty, with Townsend adding a conversion.

  • In other matches, the French teams came out on top over their Italian rivals. Stade Francais hammered L'Aquila of Italy 92-7, while Colomiers had a togher time overcoming Roma 14-5.
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