DTH van der Merwe scored a hat-trick for Glasgow as they beat Montpellier 21-10 at Scotstoun on Sunday to keep their European Champions Cup quarter-final hopes alive.
It was a bitter-sweet result for Glasgow as the missed out on the bonus point so vital for their qualification hopes.
The French outfit took a 3-0 lead through Ben Lucas’ penalty before the Warriors went ahead when Van der Merwe touched down.
But it was Jake White’s side that started the second half in front as Thibaut Privat crossed the whitewash. They couldn’t sustain that advantage, though, as the Glasgow winger scored twice more to secure the victory.
Although the Scottish team couldn’t force the fourth try, they are still in contention to qualify from Pool 4.
Gregor Townsend’s men started the season in superb fashion, both in the Guinness Pro12 and the Champions Cup, but injuries and a dip in form have seen them struggle at times over the previous month.
That meant they needed a victory and their first 15 minutes were ideal. Although Lucas opened the scoring for Montpellier with a penalty, the Scottish side consistently threatened the visitors’ defensive line.
However, their first try of the match through Van der Merwe had a hint of luck about it as a forward pass wasn’t spotted by the officials in the lead up to the touchdown.
Still, it was an advantage their play merited against a team that were already out of the competition following four successive losses.
To the French outfit’s credit, they competed incredibly well from thereon in and deservedly went back ahead through Privat, who crossed the whitewash after a dominant driving maul.
Unperturbed by that setback, Glasgow went on the attack once again and the pressure eventually led to a yellow card for prop Pat Cilliers, but they couldn’t quite get that elusive second score.
A combination of Montpellier’s rearguard effort and the Warriors’ profligacy saw the Top 14 side go into the break 10-7 in front.
The second period started in the same way as the first with the hosts controlling possession and territory and they were rewarded when van der Merwe scampered over.
Lucas Dupont was then sin-binned as Townsend’s men continued to dominate and the visitors’ resilience was broken as the home side’s left-wing touched down for his third try.
Glasgow went in search of the all-important bonus-point score but the French team’s defence remained strong in the final 10 minutes.
Tries: Van der Merwe 3
Cons: Russell 3
Yellow cards: Cilliers, Dupont
Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Ryan Wilson, 6 Leone Nakarawa, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 James Eddie, 20 Richie Vernon, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Mark Bennett, 23 Sean Maitland.
Montpellier: 15 Benoit Sicart, 14 Yohann Artru, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lucas Dupont, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Teddy Iribaren, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Thibaut Privat (c), 4 Robins Tchale Watchou, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 David Attoub, 19 Alexandre Bias, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Benoit Paillaugue, 22 Enzo Selponi, 23 Viriviri Nasagavesi.
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England); Robin Goodliffe (England)