Leinster thump 14-man Montpellier

Date published: January 13 2017

Leinster booked their place in the Champions Cup quarter-finals after they demolished Montpellier 57-3 at the RDS on Friday.

The French outfit still had an opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages before the game, but the match was over as a contest by the interval.

Isa Nacewa and Jack Conan crossed the whitewash as the Irish province moved into a 14-3 lead before Frans Steyn, the man who had scored the visitors’ only points, was sent off for a high tackle.

That duly opened the floodgates and, after Nacewa had added a penalty, Adam Byrne, Conan (three), Luke McGrath, Cian Healy and Garry Ringrose all touched down to complete a comfortable win.

Irrespective of the red card, it was an atrocious performance by the money-laden Top 14 side, who were outplayed from the first whistle.

They struggled to contain a free-flowing Leinster team and it was no surprise to see the hosts eventually open the scoring after 15 minutes. A well-worked line-out move gave Rory O’Loughlin the space to run into and, although the wing was brought down short of the line, Johnny Sexton took advantage of a disorganised defence to send Nacewa over.

Steyn reduced the arrears from the tee but a second try was soon forthcoming for the three-time winners when Conan crossed the whitewash after good work by Leinster’s full-back.

It got worse for Jake White’s men as a shoddy challenge by Steyn on his opposite number resulted in a justifiable red card for the fly-half. With Sexton off the field for a Head Injury Assessment, Nacewa kicked the resultant penalty for a 14-point buffer.

Byrne then scored, taking a high kick, exchanging passes and touching down, before the home side secured the bonus-point in the second period. This time it was the forwards that assumed command and from close range Conan got his second of the night.

With their passage into the last eight assured the intensity briefly dissipated, but a late surge by the Irish province saw them run in further tries. McGrath, Healy, Conan – his hat-trick effort – and Ringrose all went over as Leinster maintained their excellent form in Europe.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Nacewa, Conan 3, A Byrne, L McGrath, Healy, Ringrose
Cons: Sexton 3, R Byrne 4
Pen: Nacewa

For Montpellier:
Pen: Steyn
Red Card: Steyn

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa (c), 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Rory O’Loughlin, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Jack Conan, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 James Tracy, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rob Kearney

Montpellier: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Joseph Tomane, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Nic White, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Antoine Battut, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Tomas O’Leary, 22 Henry Immelman, 23 Jesse Mogg

Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Simon McConnell (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)