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Castres move into last four
One-sided victory over Montpellier in Toulouse
Castres booked themselves a Top 14 semi-final against Toulouse after beating a poor Montpellier side 31-15 at Stade Ernest-Wallon on Friday.
There was only ever one side in it as Castres, who were looking for revenge after going down to Montpol at this same stage last year, shot out of the blocks and took a stranglehold of the game.
They had an early lead through a Pierre Bernard penalty but moments later they suffered a blow when scrum-half Thierry Lacrampe was sent to the sin-bin after he slapped down the ball at the base of a ruck.
Montpellier did not take advantage of their extra man and, in fact, found themselves 6-0 down when Romain Teulet slotted on 15 minutes.
Castres continued to press and it was no surprise when Lacrampe put Barnard through a gap to cross, Teulet's extras made it 13-0 with a quarter of the match gone.
Then a sudden and unexpected shift occurred at Stade Ernest Wallon as, from a charge-down of Mamuka Gorgodze, Montpol almost crossed.
First the hefty Georgian gathered the loose ball and then offloaded to Francois Trinh-Duc, who was unfortunately for them hauled down five metres short before Castres offended. Martin Bustos Moyano made it 13-3.
Montpellier lost Mikael De Marco to the sin-bin for holding Lacrampe. Barnard made it 16-3 but then came the moment that gave Montpellier the shot in the arm they desperately needed as number eight Alex Tulou stayed strong to power over in the left-hand corner.
Teulet responded from the tee though following Bustos-Moyano's missed conversion from the touchline as the teams went in at half-time in Toulouse with Castres ahead by 19-8.
Montpellier needed the first score after the break but once again shot themselves in the foot as Barnard duly punished them from distance. He was at it again with 50 minutes gone to make the scoreline look almost unassailable at 25-8.
What gave Montpellier a glimmer of hope was when Castres lock Tekori was shown red for a high tackle on Lacrampe. That led to Fakata crashing over for a converted try with 11 minutes to go. But when Teulet and then Barnard kicked from the tee, Castres' win was secured.
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|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Brive vs Toulon|
|Saturday 20th September|
|15:00||Castres vs Oyonnax|
|15:00||Grenoble vs Bayonne|
|15:00||La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles|
|15:00||Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse|
|15:00||Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon|
|19:45||Montpellier vs Stade Francais|
|Saturday 27th September|
|16:00||Bayonne vs Toulouse|
|16:00||Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles|
|16:00||Toulon vs Montpellier|
|16:00||Stade Francais vs La Rochelle|
|16:00||Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne|
|16:00||Lyon vs Castres|
|16:00||Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||Toulouse vs Stade Francais|
|15:00||Bayonne vs Montpellier|
|15:00||Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne|
|15:00||Castres vs Grenoble|
|15:00||La Rochelle vs Lyon|
|15:00||Oyonnax vs Toulon|
|15:00||Racing Metro Paris vs Brive|
|Saturday 11th October|
|16:00||Clermont Auvergne vs La Rochelle|
|16:00||Bordeaux-Begles vs Castres|
|16:00||Toulouse vs Toulon|
|16:00||Grenoble vs Brive|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 Montpellier|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Toulon 24 - 28 Stade Francais|
|Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont Auvergne|
|Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive|
|Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble|
|Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 Lyon|
|Friday 12th September|
|La Rochelle 41 - 16 Castres|
|Saturday 6th September|
|Toulon 18 - 13 Bordeaux-Begles|
|Stade Francais 34 - 29 Bayonne|
|Grenoble 30 - 12 La Rochelle|
|Lyon 26 - 23 Oyonnax|
|Clermont Auvergne 32 - 6 Racing Metro Paris|
|Brive 26 - 19 Toulouse|
|Friday 5th September|
|Montpellier 43 - 10 Castres|
|Saturday 30th August|
|Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 Toulon|
|Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles|
|Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais|
|Lyon 24 - 6 Brive|
|Castres 30 - 6 Bayonne|
|La Rochelle 37 - 25 Toulouse|
|Friday 29th August|
|Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 Montpellier|
|Saturday 23rd August|
|Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon|
|Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax|
|Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris|
|Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com