Don’t mistake Castres gritty, uneasy on the eye style of rugby for “disinterest” in Europe or, worse again, a lack of ability.
It might not be great to look at but Castres aren’t really here to entertain the neutral – they exist to kick and grind, win forward collisions and play the kind of heavy percentages that has seen them punch above their weight in France for the last 10 years.
Munster hung on in there. It wasn’t perfect. There were errors. But when it came down to it, Munster had the grit to snatch a win right at the death through the outstanding Gavin Coombes. In doing so, they managed to do what no French team has managed this season. Whatever about this Munster side, they certainly don’t choke.
15. Mike Haley – Another solid, capable game from Haley, who’s about as reliable as they come in the backfield. He mixed it up with some nice offensive touches. 8/10.
14. Andrew Conway – A very solid outing for Conway, who covered good ground. 7/10.
13. Chris Farrell – Some really strong carrying and showed up well as an outside threat. 7/10.
12. Rory Scannell – I really liked what I saw from Scannell here. He was looking to play constantly and had some really nice creative moments. He made errors, yes, but he was always looking to make something happen. 8/10.
11. Keith Earls – He had one good break in the second half but didn’t really impact during his time on the field. 6/10.
10. Jack Crowley – He’s got guts, does Jack Crowley. He soaked up a tonne of hits in the first half but kept coming and kept playing. He kicked the last-minute conversion to put the game outside of penalty range for Castres. Encouraging. 8/10.
9. Conor Murray – A cool head who generally made good decisions in the face of some strong Castres work around the ruck. 7/10.
1. Dave Kilcoyne – A few errors and “head down” moments with the ball in hand. Decent scrummaging. 6/10.
2. Niall Scannell – An early injury forced Scannell off before he had a chance to influence the game in any real way. N/A.
3. Stephen Archer – Very reliable, solid work from the veteren tighthead. 7/10.
4. Fineen Wycherley – Struggled