Leinster Rugby 24 Montpellier 17
Leo Cullen’s Leinster side got their European Champions Cup campaign for 2017-18 off to a winning start with a hard fought bonus point win against French side Montpellier at the RDS.
The Irish side found themselves two tries to the good inside the opening 25 minutes, with five-pointers from Joey Carbery (Leinster’s 400th European Cup try), who made 14 carries for 82m in the game, and Josh van der Flier. Isa Nacewa successfully converted the latter’s try for a 12-0 lead.
Montpellier were back in the game when Fijian Nemani Nadolo, who made 118m from 21 carries throughout the match, touched down for the visitors opening score in the 37th minute. Former Ulster player Ruan Pieenar added the two-point conversion to cut the home side’s advantage to 5 points at the interval.
An impressive Man of the Match display from Robbie Henshaw included a try early in the second period before Ross Byrne’s conversion stretched the former European Champions advantage to 19-7. Nadolo and Pienaar repeated their feat of the first half by scoring a try and conversion respectively to leave the score line 19-14 entering the final quarter of the game.
Leinster soon achieved the much needed bonus point when their fourth try came from European Cup debutant Barry Daly. Despite the missed conversion the losing bonus point was outside the reach of the French outfit at that time.
A Montpellier penalty awarded in the 70th minute, following poor discipline by Ross Molony, allowed South African Pienaar ensure the French achieved what might prove to be a crucial away bonus point.
Cullen’s side travel to Scotstoun Stadium for their European Champions Cup Rugby Round 2 clash with Glasgow Warriors next Saturday. The game, with a 1.00pm kick-off, will be live on Sky Sports.
Photo: Brian F Smyth