Flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta kicked four penalties to steer Castres to a 19-14 Top 14 semi-final win against Racing 92 in Paris on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The home side came into the match without first-choice flyhalves Dan Carter and Pat Lambie, leaving the experienced but game-shy Remi Tales at No 10.
The difference showed as Castres shocked the home crowd to make the Top 14 final where they will face Montpellier.
It was the visitors who started stronger, building a 10-0 lead with Mathieu Babillot going over after breaking off the back of a good driving maul, with Urdapilleta adding a penalty and conversion.
The Parisians thought they had hit back when fullback Louis Dupichot finished off a break from hooker Camille Chat, but it was ruled out for an earlier infringement.
However, Racing did get their first when Juan Imhoff ran a good line in a planned move off a lineout and sprinted 50m to score.
Dupichot then got his try when he received a pass from centre Virimi Vakatawa and did well to finish in the corner to give his side the lead.
Urdapilleta brought his team within a point of the lead when he kicked a penalty, before putting Castres 16-14 ahead at half-time after prop Ben Tameiafuna was yellow-carded for a high tackle.
Castres started the second half as they ended the first, enjoying plenty of possession and territory while frustrating Racing into making errors, but missed two kickable penalties before Racing returned to their full complement.
Urdapilleta kicked his fourth penalty 20 minutes into the second half to extend Castres’ lead, but they were then reduced to 14 men when Julien Dumora was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.
A dramatic final 15 minutes ensued as Racing camped down in Castres’ 22, but could not apply the finishing touches as they opted to take scrums instead of kicking any of the penalties they were awarded.
Racing 92 – Tries: Juan Imhoff, Louis Dupichot. Conversions: Teddy Iribaren (2).
Castres – Try: Mathieu Mabillot. Conversion: Benjamin Urdapilleta. Penalties: Urdapilleta (4).
Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Getty Images