Quins thump White’s Montpellier

Date published: November 12 2015

Harlequins got their Challenge Cup campaign off to a perfect start as they beat Montpellier 41-18 at the Stoop on Thursday.

Tries were scored by Luke Wallace, Nick Evans, Jack Clifford, Danny Care, Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Chris Robshaw as Quins took the maximum.

Much of a pre-game talk had centred around Jake White and the vacant England head coach role but his side were well beaten on the day, as their much-changed line-up could not bounce back from the hammering they took at Toulon in the Top 14 one week ago, despite having a dominant scrum.

That set-piece helped Montpellier build a 0-9 lead on 21 minutes thanks to three Benoit Paillaugue penalties, which arrived while Harlequins tighthead prop Adam Jones and his pack were in all kinds of bother.

Paillaugue had missed his first shot at goal but was successful thereafter in the opening 40 minutes. Somehow though Quins went into the break ahead.

After a scrum penalty of their own Nick Evans made it 3-9 before Paillaugue struck as Montpol's pack exacted revenge in the 25th minute of the game.

Flanker Wallace would then lift Quins' sprits as he crossed after spinning out of a driving maul near to Montpellier's try-line. With Evans missing the conversion from wide out, it was a five-point deficit at the Stoop but Quins now had momentum with ten minutes of the half to play.

The home side were finding their form and with Montpellier struggling to contain the carriers, Easter powered over from close-range. This time Evans was on target with a simpler effort, which meant Conor O'Shea's charges jogged into the changing room 15-12 to the good.

Harlequins had their tails up for the second period and with England captain Robshaw on in place of Wallace, they set about looking for a third try. 

It came in the 47th minute and was another back-row crossing, with this time Clifford scoring from the ever-profitable driving maul. At this stage and despite another three points from Paillaugue that made it 22-15 to Quins, the game was slipping away from Montpellier.

Care made sure of that as he was the next man at the back of a maul to hand Harlequins the bonus-point try with 25 minutes still to play before replacement Lindsay-Hague finished off a lovely move started by Marland Yarde that saw Mike Brown give the slick last pass.

After a dismal World Cup, Robshaw received a boost when he added the gloss late on with a free run to the line five metres out, with Quins kicking off their pool campaign on a positive note while White and Montpellier head home disappointed after shipping six tries in what were poor conditions.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Tries: Wallace, Easter, Clifford, Care, Lindsay-Hague, Robshaw
Cons: Evans 3, Botica
Pen: Evans

For Montpellier:
Pens: Paillaugue 6
Yellow Card: Nariashvili

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Jack Clifford, 5 Sam Twomey, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Chris Robshaw, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Timoci Nagusa, 12 Anthony Tuitavke, 11 Marvin O’Connor, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo (c), 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Robins Tchale Watchou, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Mickael Ivaldi, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 CJ Van Der Linde, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Robert Ebersohn, 23 Julien Malzieu.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Stuart Kibble (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)