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- European Rugby Champions Cup
- Pool 4
- 19th Oct 2012
- KO 20:00
- Ground: Stade Pierre Antoine
- Att: 9,000
Heineken Cup: French side Castres defeat Premiership outfit Northampton in Toulouse
Castres got their Heineken Cup campaign up and running with a thoroughly deserved 21-16 victory over Northampton on Friday night.
The French side bounced back from their opening defeat in Ulster by outplaying their Aviva Premiership visitors for the majority of the match at Stade Ernest Wallon, and maybe should have won by a bigger margin in the end.
Paul Bonnefond got them off to a great start when he dived in for an eighth-minute try, after winger Romain Martial had caught Remi Tales' high kick across the field from left to right before off-loading the ball to his arriving centre.
Romain Teulet kicked the conversion and then added a 15th minute penalty just before Northampton finally got on the board with a Stephen Myler penalty kick of his own just one minute later to trim the lead down to 10-3.
That was then 10-6 with Myler's second penalty, but Castres were still the aggressors and Saints were being forced to defend manfully in the face of waves of French attacking, which only yielded a long-range Rory Kockott penalty eight minutes before the interval.
An uphill task got an even bigger incline when Northampton had South African prop Brian Mujati yellow carded five minutes after half time with the visitors under more pressure, and that strain started to tell as their scrum began wobbling just five yards from their own line.
Just when it looked like a penalty try could be awarded, Antonie Claasen peeled off the back of a rotating scrum and dived over the line to make it 18-6, which is how it stayed as Kockott missed the conversion attempt.
Saints survived with 14 men without conceding again, and they grabbed a lifeline when George Pisi kicked the ball forward off the floor after Kockott fumbled before grounding the ball under the posts - and Myler's conversion made it 18-13.
That gap was increased again to eight points when Tales slotted a drop-goal just two minutes later, but Myler's penalty on 72 minutes gave Northampton some hope of getting something out of the game.
Saints chanced their arm late on but it was not to be and they settled for a losing bonus point which had looked out of reach for most of the game after being second best for the majority of their encounter.
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|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|Friday 17th October|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Castres|
|Saturday 18th October|
|13:00||Sale vs Munster|
|15:15||Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne|
|19:45||Leicester vs Ulster|
|15:15||Glasgow vs Bath|
|17:15||Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton|
|Sunday 19th October|
|17:15||Leinster vs Wasps|
|15:15||Toulon vs Scarlets|
|13:00||Toulouse vs Montpellier|
|13:00||Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso|
|Friday 24th October|
|19:45||Munster vs Saracens|
|Saturday 25th October|
|13:00||Ulster vs Toulon|
|19:45||Scarlets vs Leicester|
|15:15||Bath vs Toulouse|
|17:15||Montpellier vs Glasgow|
|17:15||Northampton vs Ospreys|
|Sunday 26th October|
|15:15||Clermont Auvergne vs Sale|
|14:00||Castres vs Leinster|
|17:15||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|17:15||Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92|
|Saturday 6th December|
|TBC||Munster vs Clermont Auvergne|
|TBC||Sale vs Saracens|
|TBC||Castres vs Wasps|
|TBC||Harlequins vs Leinster|
|TBC||Ulster vs Scarlets|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com