Heineken Cup Pool 1: Castres hang on to defeat Ospreys in France
Ospreys remain without a victory in the Heineken Cup following a 15-9 defeat to Castres on Friday night.
Last Updated: 06/12/13 10:54pm
Much of the action occurred in second-half injury time with Ospreys on the attack, although the Welsh side were unable to score that crucial try.
It proved a goal-kicking duel in France with Rory Kockott slotting home five penalties while the visitors could only muster three.
Dan Biggar twice put the RaboDirect PRO12 side ahead in the first half and while he also scored late on it was not enough to prevent defeat.
Castres had two numerical advantages during the game following yellow cards to Aisea Natoga and Sam Lewis but they failed to press home their advantage.
Wales fly-half Biggar was off-target with an early drop-goal but quickly made amends with a penalty.
Kockett should have responded moments later but was uncharacteristically off-target and missed once again after Natoga was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on.
He eventually found his range and made it third time lucky on 15 minutes but missed once again as the Ospreys' indiscipline went unpunished.
Biggar fired the Ospreys back into the lead on 21 minutes but Kockett responded on the half-hour mark.
The French champions began the second half with far more purpose and they enjoyed a sustained period of pressure following a fine counter-attack from Brice Dulin.
The Ospreys survived that attack unscathed but Kockett soon nudged the hosts into the lead after their juggernaut pack roared into life at the set-piece.
They continued to pile the pressure on the Ospreys and a swift move looked to have released Paul Bonnefond in the left corner but the centre spilt the ball with the try line at his mercy.
Castres remained camped in Ospreys territory and launched wave after wave of attacks but the Welsh region held strong.
The pressure eventually told as Lewis infringed at the breakdown within five minutes of coming on and paid the price for his side's incessant offences with a yellow card.
Kockett was successful with the ensuing penalty to hand his side a 12-6 lead after little more than an hour.
The Ospreys fought desperately in the closing stages and Biggar closed the gap on 73 minutes, to maintain his side's hopes of snatching a dramatic victory.
Palis instantly responded to restore the hosts' six-point advantage and they clung on for dear life. Ben John almost wriggled over in the closing stages and Palis was sin-binned for kicking the ball away.
The Ospreys forwards flexed their muscles as Castres continued to infringe, with Seremaia Bai also shown yellow, but the French side clung on.