Edinburgh claim bonus-point win against Castres
Edinburgh Rugby picked up their first EPCR Challenge Cup win of the season with a comfortable bonus-point home triumph over 14-man Castres.
Antoine Bouzerand put Castres in front, but Wes Goosen hit back before Adrea Cocagi was sent off for a high tackle on Harry Paterson.
From there, it was one-way traffic as Duhan van der Merwe, Ali Price and Matt Currie crossed before the break.
Van der Merwe added further gloss, before Wayan de Benedittis and Leone Nakarawa claimed consolation tries.
Edinburgh wanted to bounce back from last week’s performance against Clermont, where a much-rotated side were soundly beaten, but they got off to the worst possible start as the wind swirled in the capital.
Ben Healy’s pass went to ground, allowing winger Bouzerand to gather and race away to score under the posts from long range.
Sean Everitt’s side kept their composure though and hit back immediately, as Goosen crept over in the corner after some slick hands in midfield.
The game’s defining moment soon followed. Edinburgh pushed forward again, and with the Castres defence stretched, Cocagi made direct contact with Harry Paterson’s head in an upright tackle. After a brief check by the television match official, the Fijian centre was shown red.
It allowed Edinburgh to build pressure through both territory and possession, and a second try for the hosts felt inevitable.
They went through the phases, and with Castres’ defence sucked in, Healy floated a lovely pass out wide to the waiting Van der Merwe, who had the simplest of finishes in the corner.
Edinburgh dominated at scrum time throughout the first 40, and when the umpteenth penalty went against the French side, Aurelien Azar was sent to the sin-bin to increase Edinburgh’s numerical advantage further.
They capitalised to full effect, running in two more tries before the break in fine style. First, Price threw a dummy and darted over to score his first try in Edinburgh colours, before Healy put Currie through a hole with a flat miss pass, allowing the centre to jog his way to the line.
After the break, Castres did ask questions of the Edinburgh defence with the wind at their backs, but they were held up over the line twice, and it was Edinburgh who ran in another score.
Van der Merwe blasted over the gain-line and disdainfully barrelled his way through another tackle to score his second of the afternoon.
De Benedittis crashed over to give Castres something to shout about, and former Glasgow lock Nakarawa crossed to send a few nerves through the home crowd.
Despite that late rally, Castres were comfortably second best on the day, hamstrung by Cocagi’s early dismissal.
Edinburgh: Paterson, Goosen, Currie, Lang, Van der Merwe, Healy, Price; Schoeman, Ashman, Sebastian, Young, Gilchrist (c), Ritchie, Watson, Mata.
Replacements: Cherry, Hislop, Rae, Sykes, Crosbie, Vellacott, Bennett, Graham.
Castres: Palis, Hulleu, Seguret, Cocagi, Bouzerand, Popelin, Doubrere; Guerios, Colonna, Azar, Maravat, Vanverberghe, Babillot (c), Cope, Papali’i.
Replacements: Zarantonello, De Benedittis, Hounkpatin, Nakarawa, Delaporte, Fernandez, Botitu, Chabouni.
Referee: Adam Jones (WRU)