Kockott kicks Castres to victory
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 22:48
Blues win Arms Park thriller
South African-born scrumhalf Rory Kockott scored 12 points to help Castres past Ospreys while Cardiff Blues beat Glasgow Warriors on Friday.
Thirteen-man Castres clinched a tense 15-9 win and handed their Welsh visitors their third straight loss in a tryless affair at Stade Pierre Antoine.
And, at Cardiff Arms Park, British and Irish Lions Player of the Series Leigh Hallpenny’s unerring boot guided Blues to a 29-20 win over the Scottish Warriors.
Castres 15-9 Ospreys
Castres closed the gap on Leinster in Pool One after clinging on for a hard-fought victory over the Ospreys.
The French champions lost in Dublin in Round Two but drew level with the three-time tournament champions on eight points to kick-start their campaign.
Leinster face Northampton Saints on Saturday, but Castres remain very much in the running for qualification following the slender win.
The Ospreys, desperate for a victory to keep their slim European Cup hopes alive, started well at Stade Pierre Antoine. Dan Biggar was agonisingly off-target with an early drop-goal but he quickly made amends with a penalty.
Rory Kockott should have responded but uncharacteristically missed a pair of penalties, the latter after Aisea Natoga was shown yellow for a deliberate knock-on.
He temporarily found his range to level the scores on 15 minutes but missed a third shot at goal as the Ospreys’ indiscipline went unpunished.
Biggar nudged the visitors back into the lead but Kockott levelled the scores as the sides entered the break at 6-6.
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 Kockott soon nudged the hosts into the lead after their juggernaut pack roared into life at the set-piece.
Castres remained camped in Ospreys territory and launched wave after wave of attacks but the Welsh region held strong.
The pressure eventually told, though, as Sam 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.
Kockott 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.
Geoffrey Palis instantly responded to restore the hosts' six-point advantage and they clung on for dear life as both Palis and Seremaia Bai were sin-binned in the closing stages.
Pens: Kockott 4, Palis
Pens: Biggar 3
Yellow cards: Aisea Natoga (Ospreys, 8), Sam Lewis (Ospreys, 60), Geoffrey Palis (Castres, 81), Seremaia Bai (Castres, 82)
Castres: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Romain Cabannes (captain), 12 Paul Bonnefond, 11 Remi Grosso, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Piula Faasalele, 6 Ibrahim Diarra, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Karena Wihongi, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Michael Coetzee, 17 Yannick Forestier, 18 Anton Peikrishvili, 19 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 20 Yannick Caballero, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Seremaia Bai, 23 Geoffrey Palis.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Aisea Natoga, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Ben John, 11 Jeff Hassler, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 James King, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Dan Suter, 19 Morgan Allen, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Grabham.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Olly Hodges (Ireland)
TMO: Jude Quinn (Ireland)
Cardiff Blues 29-20 Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff Blues leapt to the top of Pool Two with a thrilling 29-20 victory over Glasgow Warriors.
Wales pair Rhys Patchell and Alex Cuthbert crossed either side of half-time to hand Blues their second successive win.
Sean Maitland and Leone Nakarawa also scored tries but that could not prevent a disappointing night for the Warriors, who left the Arms Park empty-handed.
Leigh Halfpenny proved the difference by kicking 16 points, while man of the match Patchell also kicked penalty.
Halfpenny uncharacteristically missed his first effort but was on target three times before half-time as the Blues - missing seven of the side that defeated champions Toulon in the previous round - raced into a 16-0 lead.
Cuthbert went close three times amid a thrilling start to the tie as both sides looked to play attacking rugby on the fast plastic pitch.
Macauley Cook broke clear for Cuthbert's first chance before the video official ruled out the second after Patchell launched an attack from close to his own line.
Duncan Weir's mistake handed the hosts an attacking scrum and, following bursts by Robin Copeland and Cuthbert, Patchell dived over from close range on 22 minutes. Halfpenny converted and added a penalty as Glasgow's errors mounted.
But the Warriors struck an important response through Maitland just before half-time and, when Weir kicked two penalties, they trailed 13-19 ten minutes from time.
Halfpenny kicked a fourth penalty after Weir kicked out on the full before the game was effectively decided in the 71st minute.
Glasgow looked to run a penalty and Ed Kalman's pass was picked off by Cuthbert, who burst clear from inside his own half to score past Ruaridh Jackson.
Replacement Nakarawa stretched out to score a try on his European Cup debut in the 79th minute but it was too late to salvage a losing bonus point for Glasgow.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Patchell, Cuthbert
Cons: Halfpenny 2
Pens: Halfpenny 4, Patchell
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Maitland, Nakarawa
Cons: Weir 2
Pens: Weir 2
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Rory Watts-Jones, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs (captain).
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dan Fish.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Gabriel Ascarate, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock (captain), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Moray Low, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 Tyrone Holmes, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Chris Cusiter, 23 Ruaridh Jackson.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Eanna O'Dowd (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)
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