A 14-man Montpellier side produced an excellent second-half performance to beat Castres 32-14 in the Champions Cup on Sunday.
Despite trailing on both the scoreboard and player count at half time, the hosts produced a stunning comeback to complete a bonus-point victory win and move just one point behind pool leaders Leinster.
The two sides started the day level on points, but Castres looked much worse despite playing the last hour of the game with an extra man.
The game got off to a fairly innocuous start with the two sides trading penalties in the opening 10 minutes. Rory Kockott handed the visitors an early lead from the tee before Frans Steyn equalised after a penalisation at the scrum. It was Castres though who pushed on from there, and they scored the first try of the game.
Remi Grosso intercepted a hopeful pass and ran a distance without challenge before touching down. Kockott was unable to convert.
It got even worse for the hosts after Davit Kubriashvili was sent off for slamming his shoulder into the face of an opponent at a ruck. Castres used that advantage initially, Kockott kicking through the posts from close range, but the 14 men of Montpellier put themselves right back in the contest before the break.
Timoci Nagusa went over the line after Steyn decided not to kick for goal from a penalty, with his conversion putting just one point between the sides at half time.
After the break, Castres started to show their man advantage, and Benjamin Urdapilleta’s penalty provided slightly more comfort space, but that was quickly wiped out as Montpellier took a shock lead.
The hosts put pressure on the Castres defence, allowing Kelian Galletier to touch down with Steyn converting from an angle. The visitors were shell shocked and suffering from their own mistakes. Steyn missed a penalty just after the hour but atoned two minutes later to extend the advantage to six points, before Shalva Mamukashvili went over from a driving maul with a try converted by Steyn to hand his side an almost-unassailable lead.
In the dying embers of the match, Montpellier got their all-important fourth try through Nic White, who collected a chipped kick before touching down with the final score of the game.
Tries: Nagusa, Galletier, Mamukashvili, White
Cons: Steyn 3
Pens: Steyn 2
Red Card: Kubriashvili
Pens: Kockott 2, Urdapilleta
Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Alexandre Dumoulin, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Nic White, 8 Akapusi Qera (c), 7 Kélian Galletier, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Nicholaas Van Rensburg, 4 Konstantine Mikautadze, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Charles Géli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Jannie Du Plessis, 19 Antoine Battut, 20 Wiaan Liebenberg, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Benjamin Fall, 23 Demetri Catrakilis
Castres: 15 Pierre Berard, 14 Rémi Grosso, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 11 David Smith, 10 Julien Dumora, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Thibault Lassale, 3 Daniel Kotze, 2 Brice Mach, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Tudor Stroe, 18 Damien Tussac, 19 Victor Moreaux, 20 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 21 Alexandre Bias, 22 Antoine Dupont, 23 Florian Vialelle
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)