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Goneva sinks Montpellier

15th December 2013 16:59

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Vereniki Goneva scoring for Leicester Tigers

Match-winner: Vereniki Goneva

A last-minute try from Vereniki Goneva kept alive Leicester Tigers' hopes of topping Pool 5 as they sneaked past Montpellier 15-14 on Sunday.

Despite finishing 0-0, the first-half was an entertaining affair with a number of chances for both Leicester and Fabien Galthie's men.

But it was the Tigers that took the lead through Tom Youngs before Enzo Selponi and Lucas Dupont responded with tries for the hosts.

However, after Ryan Lamb had narrowed the deficit with a penalty, Goneva was the hero when he scampered over.

Last weekend, both teams played out an exhilarating encounter as the Tigers eventually emerged with a 41-32 triumph. That defeat for the French outfit effectively ended their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals and they therefore made 14 changes for this game.

But it was the hosts that looked the more threatening in the opening exchanges as Selponi broke through early on.

Opportunities continued to present themselves for either side but mistakes and excellent defence prevented them from getting points on the board.

Montpellier did have a chance to score with the last move of the half but Benoit Paillaugue's penalty drifted wide.

Miles Benjamin looked to have gone over not long into the second period, but his foot was ruled to be in touch.

However, it wasn't long before Leicester had opened the scoring when good work from Thomas Waldrom and Goneva took play up to the line, and Youngs subsequently burrowed across the whitewash.

That advantage didn't last long, though, as the Tigers were unusually turned over in the scrum and the ball was passed out to Selponi who scampered clear.

Dupont then touched down following good work from Gorgodze before Lamb reduced the arrears to six points with a penalty.

And with time almost up, a superb move ended in Goneva crossing the line, Lamb converting, to give them a vital win and take them to 15 points in Pool Five.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Selponi, Dupont
Con: Paillaugue, Escande

For Leicester:
Tries: T Youngs, Goneva
Con: Lamb
Pen: Lamb

Montpellier: 15 Pierre Berard, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Yohann Artru, 10 Enzo Selponi, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze (c), 6 Alexandre Bias, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Robins Tchale Watchou, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Paea Fa'anunu, 19 Johnnie Beattie, 20 Mickael Demarco, 21 Eric Escande, 22 Thomas Combezou, 23 Anthony Floch.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 David Mele, 22 Matt Smith, 23 Ryan Lamb.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell, Wayne Davies (both Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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