Tuesday 16 January 2018

Donald fills Bath with hope ahead of Leinster showdown

Heineken Cup Round-Up

WORLD CUP hero Stephen Donald continued his recent roll at the Rec as he inspired Bath to a 16-13 win over Montpellier to go second behind Leinster in Pool 2.

The English club take on the champions in back-to-back games next month and they gave themselves a chance of progressing against the French Top 14 finalists who fought back from behind to secure a losing bonus point.

All Black Donald -- who was whisked from his holidays to win the Webb Ellis trophy -- didn't score a try but he was key to the home side's scores, floating a marvellous skip pass to Olly Woodburn for the first try and then running the length of the field before David Flatman scored the second.

They led 13-3 at the break, but the visitors fought back in the second half and will be satisfied to take something from a game that looked beyond them ahead of their double header with Glasgow.

Bath made a blistering start, establishing an 8-0 lead after just nine minutes as Montpellier struggled to cope with the fluency of their attacking game.


Donald was at the heart of Bath's onslaught, kicking a short-range penalty and then floating a pin-point long pass to an unmarked Woodburn, who finished off in the corner.

Then the former Waikato Chief intercepted a midfield pass and sprinted 80 metres into Montpellier's 22 before he was caught by their cover defence.

Donald managed to free centre Dan Hipkiss, and after he was hauled down just short of the line, Bath worked Flatman over on an overlap for a 13-point advantage.

Donald and Martin Bustos Moyano exchanged penalties before the visiting winger crossed for a Montpellier try, despite the scoring pass from lock Thibaut Privat being clearly forward.

They were back in contention at 16-13 adrift after Bustos Moyano landed a touchline conversion and then an angled penalty.

Bath, though, possessed sufficient composure to successfully wind down the clock and collect a crucial four points.

Meanwhile, Treviso were denied a famous win over the Ospreys when Matthew Morgan kicked a last-gasp penalty to secure a 26-all draw for the Welsh side who are second behind Saracens in Pool 5.

The Londoners still top the pool despite losing 15-10 in Biarritz with Alex Goode's injury-time try securing a vital bonus point in the south of France.

Harlequins kept up the pace with Toulouse at the top of Connacht's Pool 6 with their 28-9 win over winless Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Conor O'Shea's men missed out on the bonus point but will be satisfied with their visit to the west country as tries from Mike Brown, Matt Hopper and England's Nick Easter did the damage.

Irish Independent

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