Castres 27-20 Cardiff Blues, Heineken Cup, October 15
Rush: Bonus point could prove difference
October 15, 2010
Castres coach Laurent Travers (R) was disappointed to let Cardiff claim a bonus point © Getty Images
Cardiff Blues captain Xavier Rush believes their late bonus point in Castres could prove crucial towards qualifying for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.
Blues lost 27-20 to the French side at Stade Pierre Antoine, but Scott Andrews' last-minute try, converted by Ceri Sweeney, salvaged what could be a vital losing point.
Rush admitted his team were blown away in the first half and they trailed 27-6 at the break. But a Maama Molitika try sparked a second-half recovery which could yet make the difference when it comes to reaching the knockout stages.
Rush said: "This is a very tight pool where you have to take whatever you can get on the road and, as the competition develops, that bonus point could prove crucial. We weren't surprised by the way Castres came at us. They have a very proud record at home in the French league and have not been beaten here for some time.
"We knew they would come at us but unfortunately it took us a long time to get into the game. They were better than us in most areas in the first half. We struggled at the scrum and what ball we did have we turned over. We made them look pretty good."
Ben Blair kicked the Blues only points in the opening 40 minutes, but they rallied after the break with two tries, both converted by Sweeney.
Rush said: "It wasn't a good performance in the first half but we just put that behind us at half-time and started from scratch in the second half. We went out to play the way we knew we could and I'm very proud of the way the boys stuck together, hung on and salvaged that bonus point. In difficult circumstances, it's not a bad result."
Castres moved top of Pool One with the victory, with Edinburgh and Northampton meeting at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Castres coach Laurent Travers said: "We are very pleased to get the win. It was important for us to recover from the defeat to Northampton last week, especially in front of our home supporters, and we achieved that.
"We performed well in the first half, we controlled the ball and the pace of the game, but we knew Cardiff are a very good side and they came back well in the second half. It was good to get the victory but we were disappointed to let them score that late try for a bonus point. Every point is important in this pool."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry