Montpellier kept their hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Cup play-offs alive with a 34-21 bonus-point success over Cardiff Blues.
Montpellier kept their hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Cup play-offs alive with a 34-21 bonus-point win over Cardiff Blues at Stade Yves-du-Manoir on Saturday.
The result provisionally moves Montpellier level with Pool 6 leaders Toulon, who host Sale on Sunday.
The home side took control of the game from the 16th minute, with a converted Timoci Nagusa try. The powerful winger forced his way through a tackle on his way to the line – that score making up for a disallowed effort only moments earlier.
Cardiff had taken the lead from a Sam Warburton try, as he collected a long line-out ball, and dived over to put the Blues ahead on four minutes.
Although Rhys Patchell's set piece kicks had been inaccurate early on, his kicks to touch were excellent throughout the game. His first effort set up that Warburton score, and although his conversion and an earlier penalty attempt were missed, he added to the try with a penalty after Montpellier full-back Martin Bustos Moyano had opened the scoring for the home side with his first kick of the game.
One more converted try added to Cardiff's woes leading up to half-time. Erasmus Van Vuuren twisted over the line, after his pack had exerted pressure on Cardiff, with his try the inevitable outcome of a period of intense physicality.
At 17-8 up coming out of the break, Montpellier showed their intent straight from the second half kick-off. On the attack from the start, they put Cardiff under severe pressure, with the Blues on the back foot from the off. Yoan Audrin scored Montpellier's third try, finding the gap on the Cardiff line, with Moyano adding the conversion.
But the Blues were able to come back, as Alex Cuthbert found a diagonal line from his wing, to score his fourth Heineken Cup try of the season. Patchell converted, and with the score at 24-15, there was still the chance for the Blues to get something out of the game.
That opportunity was made more difficult just before the hour, as Johnnie Beattie earned the home side their bonus point, dotting down between the posts.
Patchell added two further penalty goals soon afterwards, but the game was effectively over with Moyano's 73rd minute penalty to finish the scoring.
Tries: Nagusa , Van Vuuren, Audrin, Beattie
Cons: Bustos Moyano 4
Pens: Bustos Moyano 2
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Warburton, Cuthbert
Pens: Patchell 3
Montpellier: 15 Martin Bustos Moyano, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Yoan Audrin, 10 Santiago Fernandez, 9 Julien Tomas, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Kelian Galletier, 6 Alexandre Bias, 5 Aliki Fakate, 4 Mickael Demarco, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Rassie van Vuuren, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Mickael Ladhuie, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Barry Fa'amausili, 19 Thibaut Privat, 20 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 21 Eric Escande, 22 Shontayne Hape, 23 Benjamin Thiery.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Andries Pretorius, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Tau Filise.
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Owen Williams.
Venue: Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant referees: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts (England), Stuart Terheege (England)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)