French giants Castres Olympique collected a European trophy when they demolished a brave Caerphilly side at the Madejski Stadium, Reading.
The Welsh semi-professional side were simply out-gunned by the might of last season's Heineken Cup semi-finalists, who moved up a gear after leading only 13-7 at halftime to win the PARKER PEN SHIELD going away.
The first quarter was a scrappy affair, with the underdog Welsh side
struggling to gain ascendancy and Castres ruining some promising play with poor handling and decision-making. Rather than keeping the ball tight and using their bigger pack to wear the Caerphilly defenders down,
the French side threw the ball wide at every opportunity - with little success.
Castres fly-half Romain Teulet kicked an early penalty goal but
Caerphilly scored the game's opening try - a stunning solo effort to 30-year-old jinked Roddy Boobyer who jinked through several tackles
before dotting down near the posts.
Teulet narrowed the margin with his second penalty goal, before the real Castres appeared after half an hour. Some clever dummy runners in the midfield gave big centre Sebastien Roque a free run to the try-line and
Teulet's point-blank conversion gave his side a six-point lead at the break.
Caerphilly's brave defence lasted barely 30 seconds of the second half, with impressive Castres backrower Romain Froment capitalising on a mistake from the Welsh side to score out wide. The slim hopes held by the fans from across the Severn evaporated in the 47th minute when
Froment scored his second try from a close-range scrum.
Lock Nicholas Spanghero added a long-range five-pointer before Caerphilly regained some pride through a try to hard-working backrower Joe El-Abd.
Castres winger Laurent Arbo finished the scoring with a try from close range to take the French club to the 40-point mark as the clock ticked past the 80 minutes.
"In the end it was a bridge too far." said Caerphilly coach Mark Ring.
"We started the game well, with a lot of pace and quick ball, but against a side like Castres, you have to play for 80-minutes.
"I'm immensely proud of the boys and everything they have achieved this season," he added.
CAERPHILLY 12 CASTRES OLYMPIQUE 40
HT: 7-13 Attendance: 3,500
Caerphilly: Tries - R Boobyer, J El-Abd; Con - J Thomas.
Castres Olympique: Tries - S Roque, R Froment 2, N Spanghero, L Arbo;
Pens - R Teulet 3; Cons - R Teulet 3.