Leinster suffer shock loss

Castres 18 Leinster 15
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Despite outscoring their opponents two tries to none, Leinster slumped to a surprise 18-15 Heineken Cup defeat against the French side Castres last night. The Irish side are still top of Pool Two but the defeat raises the possibility that Wasps, whose hopes seemed over after a heavy defeat by Leinster in October, might yet top the table. The two sides meet next month with Wasps, who face Edinburgh tomorrow, breathing down their rivals’ necks.

Tries by Girvan Dempsey and Jonathan Sexton – the latter after a fine break by Shane Jennings – ensured Leinster were 12-9 up at the break but an undisciplined second-half effort and good kicking by Castres’ Anthony Lagardere proved their downfall. The Leinster coach Michael Cheika was visibly disappointed afterwards. “We can’t afford to have another loss,” he said. “We’ve let an opportunity slip to be in charge. We need to get better.”

Elsewhere in the Heineken Cup, in Pool Four, Scarlets failed to secure their first win in this year’s competition when they were held 16-16 by Ulster at home. Darren Daniel touched down for the home side while David Humphreys and Paddy Wallace registered five-pointers for the Irish side in a game chiefly notable for the dire weather in which it was played.