Castres Olympique, relegated to the Challenge Cup after four defeats in as many Champions Cup games, traveled to London Irish for the Round of 16 on Friday 15 April. Outclassed in the first half and trailing by 37 points at halftime, the Castres failed to reverse the trend despite a much better second half. Loss 64-27.
The movie of the game
0′: Kick off by the Castres.
6′: Test Augustin Creevy, the Castres are penalized after a series of errors in their 22 meters. After an English throw-in, Creevy used a ruck foray down the goal-line to level off. Penalty converted by Jackson: 7-0
17′: New English attempt. Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso escapes on the left and returns to Curtis Rona on the right before being caught. The Aussie flattened out with no problem. The Castres are currently too rough. Missed conversion: 12-0
22′: First Castrais points, Botica penalty: 12-3
24′: Creepy attempt. The Argentine has already scored his second try. Another English throw-in ten yards from the Castres goal. The London Irish are much better in this area at the moment. The ball is carried devastatingly by the English to allow Creevy to go flat. Conversion successful: 19-3
34′: Castres is going too fast. Fourth English Essay by Pearson. Another touch on the left but this time the English shift the game to the right. Parton comes back in and passes Pearson who goes flat. Try converted: 26-3
37′: Fifth English try. A new penalty down the left by the London Irish. The English vary the throwing of the ball again. Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso wrong-footed the Castro defense and ran down the line to go flat. Converted test. It’s too easy for the London Irish: 33-3
39′: Sixth attempt by the English. Botica briefly dismissed on previous attempt. Ball exit with success on the right by the English. Parton transfers Kyle Rowe to his right side, who spins into goal after a 40-yard dash down the line. Transformation successful: 40-3
45′: Rory Kockott scores Castres’ first try. After a carried ball, the half of the crowd sinks into the English defense and reduces the score a little. Converted attempt: 40-10
54′: Test by Theo Chabouni. After a series of scuffles in the English 22m, Botica kicks the ball over the defense to the left. Théo Chabouni scored a try in his first professional game that gave Castre hope. Test converted by Botica: 40-17
58′: Attempt by Santiago Arrata. Castres returns and inflicts a 21-0:40-24 on his opponent at the end of the half
70′: Yellow card for Chabouni, Castres finished the game with 14
72′: Seventh English try after another throw-in by Rogerson: 45-27
74′: New English Test, on the left of Castres, orphan of Chabouni, Joseph flattens: 52-27
78′: Castre explodes, another English try. Cornish flattens under the post after a rush, right side again: 59-27
79′: Tenth English try: 64-27
Augustin Creevy, the prime of life
It’s a demonstration of the London Irish in the first third with a 37-point lead. One of the great architects of this dominance, if we forget the fact that Castres completely misses his match, is Argentine pillar Augustin Creevy. As the author of a double, the 37-year-old veteran was the engine that put his team on the right track. Imperial on the touchline and dominating scrums and regroupings, thanks in particular to the Argentinian column, the English quickly got their hands on the game and only needed to develop in the first half to crush the Tarnais. Second half much more difficult for them but the gap was made.
REPETITION. European Challenge: Castres beaten badly at London Irish and eliminated in Round of 16 (64-27)
Castres only played one half
One thing is for sure, Castres Olympique came back with much better intentions in the second half. The Tarnais have increased their level of play and have been able to react physically, especially with the complete change of their forward line. On the return from the dressing room, Castres inflicts a 21-0 and comes back from the English on 16 points with just twenty minutes to go. Castres looked primed to defeat the English and could regret their disastrous first half. Chabouni’s yellow card also punished Castres at the end of the game. Castres conceded four tries in the last ten minutes.
En route to Europe for the London Irish
lessons from the game
The Castrais can blame themselves in this confrontation with the London Irish. Already at half time the result was sealed with a 37 point lead in favor of the locals. Castres, who had shown good things so far despite his four Champions Cup defeats. Even when they didn’t win, the Tarnais defended themselves and never lost more than six points in European competition. Pierre-Henry Broncan had decided to rotate a bit, Castres collapsed in the first half and failed to come back despite a second half at a much better level, enough to sustain great regret. The CO, currently fourth in the top 14, can now focus on the championship. The London Irish meet the winner between Toulon and Benetton in the quarter-finals on May 7th.