Planet Rugby

Leinster deny Montpellier at the death

12th November 2011 12:21

Share:

sexton

Sexton: Breaks Montpellier hearts

Leinster pivot Johnny Sexton kicked a last-gasp penalty to snatch a 16-16 draw with Montpellier, and deny the French club a famous opening Heineken Cup win on Saturday.

In what was an absorbing contest at the Stade Yves Du Manoir, the hosts looked to have done everything humanly possible to hold off the defending champions until a brain explosion from replacement Remy Martin handed Sexton a chance to save his team's blushes... and the Ireland star didn't disappoint.

Heartbreak for Montpellier, relief for Leinster. But, perhaps, a fair result.

It was a rip-roaring Pool 3 clash, with both teams showing tremendous skill with ball in hand as the crowd were treated to some brilliant entertaining rugby.

It was Test match quality, and neither side took their foot off the pedal as the match clicked from first to fifth gear straight from the kick-off. And it continued to stay that way right until the final whistle.

Up against the defending champions, tournament newbies Montpellier quite rightly entered the match as underdogs.

But the Frenchmen - third last in the Top 14 - weren't prepared to roll over so easily, and instead delivered a ferocious performance that more often than not left the Irish province shell-shocked.

Scrum-half Benoit Paillaugue opened Montpellier's Heineken Cup account with a penalty after two minutes but that was soon cancelled out by Sexton who kicked his first points of the 2011/12 campaign.

The two-time Heineken Cup-winnnig fly-half then kicked Leinster in front with his second penalty from 47m out to take the lead.

Powered on from their fanatical support, Montpellier then crossed for the opening try in fantastic fashion. With Leinster on the attack, an Ica Nacewa chip hit a Montpellier defender which allowed Lucas Amorosino to hack ahead and give chase.

Amorosino won the footrace, and captain Fulgence Ouedraogo was fed the ball for the easiest of scores. Paillaugue added the extras and then another penalty before the interval to round-up a dominant first forty minutes.

The titanic battle continued at a furious pace in the second period and it again was Montpellier that struck first. With Paillaugue off the field, kicking duties fell to Francois Trinh-Duc, and the French fly-half had no problem extending his side's lead to ten points (16-6).

Leinster, famed for their fightback ability, then began edging their way back into the game. Using all their European experience they started pushing Montpellier backwards and started to control proceedings.

Replacement hooker Sean Cronin showed great pace and power to grab Leinster's only try and Sexton's conversion brought the scores to within three.

With the clock showing red, Sexton then cooly slotted his final penalty. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Ouedraogo
Cons: Paillaugue
Pens: Paillaugue 2, Trinh-Duc

For Leinster:
Tries: Cronin
Cons: Sexton
Pens: Sexton 3

Montpellier: 15 Lucas Amorosino, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Yoan Audrin, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Masi Matadigo, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Mickael Demarco, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Na'ama Leleimalefaga.
Replacements: 16 Rassie Jansen Van Vuuren, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 George Jgenti, 19 Drickus Hancke, 20 Rémy Martin, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Paul Bosch, 23 Martin Bustos Moyano.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Isa Nacewa, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Damian Browne, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Heinke Van Der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Nathan White, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Eoin O'Malley.

Referee: Dave Pearson (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins vs Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Preview
Saturday , November 22
Exeter vs Wasps15:00
London Irish vs Bath15:00
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs Northampton13:00
London Welsh vs Leicester Tigers15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 22
Italy vs South Africa15:00
Scotland vs Tonga14:30
Ireland vs Australia16:30
Wales vs New Zealand17:30
England vs Samoa19:00
France vs Argentina21:00
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 21
Dragons vs MunsterDragons vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Preview
Connacht vs ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs Leinster14:30
Edinburgh vs Cardiff Blues16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
Scotland 16 - 24 New ZealandScotland vs New Zealand Report
England 28 - 31 South AfricaEngland vs South Africa Report
Tonga 40 - 12 USATonga vs USA Report
Wales 17 - 13 FijiWales vs Fiji Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 18 - 20 ArgentinaItaly vs Argentina Report
Canada 13 - 23 SamoaCanada vs Samoa Report
More International Match results
LV= Cup
Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets
Ospreys 35 - 51 DragonsOspreys vs Dragons Report
Sunday , November 9
Wasps 43 - 22 London Irish
London Welsh 9 - 18 Gloucester
Leicester 29 - 13 Sale SharksLeicester vs Sale Sharks Report
More LV= Cup results
International Match
Saturday , November 8
Italy 24 - 13 SamoaItaly vs Samoa Report
Wales 28 - 33 AustraliaWales vs Australia Report
England 21 - 24 New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand Report
Georgia 9 - 23 TongaGeorgia vs Tonga Report
Ireland 29 - 15 South AfricaIreland vs South Africa Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton726
2Exeter724
3Bath724
4Saracens724
5Wasps720