Heineken Cup round-up: Munster march on with another O'Gara drop-goal

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The Independent Online

Ronan O'Gara's second last-second winning drop-goal in successive matches gave Munster a priceless Heineken Cup away victory against Castres yesterday. The Ireland fly-half, whose kick beat Northampton at Thomond Park in the first round of matches, gave Munster a 27-24 win that put them second in Pool One behind the Scarlets, whom they will face in their next two matches.

Doug Howlett, Peter O'Mahony and Will Chambers scored tries for Munster and O'Gara also kicked three conversions and a penalty. Brice Mach and Pierre-Gilles Lakafia scored tries for Castres and Pierre Bernard kicked four penalties and a conversion.

In Italy, the 19-year-old fly-half Matthew Morgan kicked a late penalty on his Heineken Cup debut to give the Ospreys a 26-26 draw with Benetton Treviso. Tommy Bowe and Ryan Jones scored the Ospreys' tries; Dan Biggar converted both and kicked three penalties. Michele Rizzo, Benjamin de Jager and Tobias Botes scored tries for Treviso and Kris Burton kicked 11 points.

The Ospreys' director of rugby, Scott Johnson, said: "Did we want four or five points? Yes of course we did. But I'll certainly settle for two before one, or even none. It wasn't perfection but our destiny is still in our own hands, and that's not a bad thing."

The Ospreys now go into two matches against Saracens, with whom they are level at the top of Pool Five. The first fixture, on 10 December, will be played at Wembley.

Newcastle are having a lot more fun in the Amlin Challenge Cup than in the Aviva Premiership. The Falcons, who have one win from eight domestic matches, won their second European match in a row yesterday, 39-3 at Petrarca Padova. Jamie Helleur, Jeremy Manning, Tim Swinson (twice), Ryan Shortland and Joe Graham scored tries for Newcastle and Manning kicked two conversions. Eoghan Hickey kicked a penalty for Petrarca. Newcastle's next game is at home to Toulon and, if selected, Jonny Wilkinson on 8 December.

Exeter also won in the Amlin, 68-0 at home to another completely outmatched Italian side, Cavalieri Prato. Ben White, Joseph Tatupu (twice), James Phillips (twice), Mark Foster, Chris Bentley and Jack Nowell scored tries for the Chiefs, who were also given two penalty tries; Ignacio Mieres kicked 14 points and Gareth Steenson kicked four.