Cardiff Blues salvaged a potentially important losing bonus-point at Castres thanks to a last-minute try by Scott Andrews. The Welsh region team looked set to leave here empty-handed as they trailed 27-13 with the full-time whistle rapidly approaching. However replacement prop Andrews barged his way over from close range to claim Cardiff's second try, converted by Ceri Sweeney to clinch a late consolation point.
Castres stormed into a 27-6 half-time lead follow quick-fire tries from wingers Vincent Inigo and Marc Andreu. However Ma'ama Molitika sparked a second-half recovery that was capped by the late score.
The Cardiff coach, Dai Young, would have left France satisfied with the bonus point considering his team were steamrollered in the opening half. Castres were on the front foot from the start and opened the scoring thanks to a Romain Teulet penalty. The full-back landed another two penalties either side of a Seremaia Bai drop-goal before Ben Blair struck with Cardiff's first points.
The goal-kicking full-backs exchanged further penalties to bring the score to 15-6. But the French side landed a knock-out blow after 36 minutes when Inigo danced through the visitors' defence. The wing pounced on a speculative Yoan Audrin kick and burst through the gap before skipping past the covering Leigh Halfpenny to score.
Teulet converted to give the side a 22-6 lead and things got even worse for Cardiff when Inigo's wing partner grabbed a try of his own minutes later. Audrin was at the centre of the action again and burst down the Cardiff wing. The ball was spread wide to Teulet who chipped to the corner for Andreu to score.
But Cardiff sparked into life after the interval and played with an increased level of intensity. They got their first reward six minutes into the second period when Molitika crashed over. The visitors had their tails up after the try and threatened to score on several occasions, their hopes were increased when Thomas Sanchou was sent to the sin bin for killing the ball
Castres: Tries Inigo, Andreu; Conversion Teulet;
Penalties Teulet 4, Baikeinuku. Cardiff Blues: Tries Molitika, Andrews; Conversions Sweeney 2; Penalties Blair 2.
Castres: Teulet; Inigo, Audrin, Baikeinuku, Andreu (Bernard, 73); McIntyre; Tillous-Borde (Sanchou, 71); Forestier, Kayser (Bonello, 54), Ducalcon (Saayman, 72), Tekori, Rolland, Diarra, Caballero (Murray, 73), Masoe (Bornman, 59).
Cardiff Blues: Blair (James, 42); Halfpenny, Laulala, Shanklin, Czekaj; Sweeney, Rees; Jenkins, Thomas (R Williams, 28), Filise, B. Davies, Jones (Tito, 69), Molitika (Pretorius, 69), Warburton, Rush (capt).
Referee: A Lewis (Ireland).