WORCESTER Warriors narrowly missed out on a consolation bonus point which would have been just reward for a brave effort against a huge Castres pack at a soggy Stade Pierre-Fabre today.

Warriors played a canny tactical kicking game, similar to the one that brought them victory against Ospreys in this competition last year, but on this occasion it was not enough to force victory.

A penalty seven minutes from time from Benjamin Urdapilleta gave Castres an eight-point lead which was enough to keep Warriors out of bonus-point range and meant they returned empty-handed from their long trip to the south of France.

Try-scoring opportunities were at a premium for both teams but Castres converted the two they had in the first half when wing Filipo Nakosi barrelled over and flanker Baptiste Delaporte dotted down after Castres found a gap in the defence.

Warriors had to settle for three penalties from Duncan Weir which kept them in the hunt until Urdapilleta’s late strike.

The result meant that Ryan Mills was unable to celebrate becoming only the 23rd Warriors player to make 100 first-team appearances with a victory.

Jamie Shillcock reached the 50-appearances milestone when he came on as a second-half replacement for Chris Pennell.

Warriors drew first blood when Castres were penalised for blocking from a kick ahead and Weir landed the penalty.

But Castres cancelled out that score with their first incursion into Warriors’ 22.

They shipped the ball wide from a lineout and Nakosi barrelled over in the corner despite the best efforts of Perry Humphreys and Cornell du Preez to keep him out.

Referee Sean Gallagher consulted the television match official before the try was awarded and Urdapilleta, Castres’ Argentina international fly-half, banged over the conversion from touch.

Warriors attempted to nullify the threat posed by Castres’ juggernaut pack and hefty centres by playing a clever territorial kicking game.

It frustrated Castres for most of the first half but they eventually found a chink of space in the defence and Delaporte managed to muscle his way over for the second try which Urdapilleta also converted.

Warriors responded with a long run from Francois Venter, supported by Chris Pennell.

Castres were penalised at the breakdown but the referee played advantage and Michael Heaney almost put Ted Hill in at the corner with a superb crossfield kick.

The ball was dislodged from Hill’s grasp in the tackle on the line and Warriors opted to take the three points on offer with a second penalty from Weir.

Urdapilleta had the chance to restore Castres’ 11-point advantage in the final minute of the first half when he attempted to kick a penalty from five metres inside his own half.

The kick had the range but not the direction and drifted wide.

Warriors: Pennell (Shillcock 58); Humphreys, Venter (Lawrence 63), Mills, Fidow; Weir, Heaney (Hougaard 58); Waller (Black 48), Annett (Moulds 54), Carey (Schonert 54), Bresler (Clegg 64), Kitchener, Hill, Lewis, du Preez (van Velze 54).


8 Weir pen 0-3

13 Nakosi try 5-3

14 Urdapilleta con 7-3

26 Delaporte try 12-3

27 Urdapilleta con 14-3

33 Weir pen 14-6

46 Weir pen 14-9

73 Urdupilleta pen 17-9