Friday 23 August 2019

Montpellier defeat leaves Leinster in pole position

Toulon's Leigh Halfpenny reacts after missing a kick to win the game in the final moments during the match against Scarlets. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA
Toulon's Leigh Halfpenny reacts after missing a kick to win the game in the final moments during the match against Scarlets. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA

Round-up

Castres revived their Champions Cup quarter-final ambitions with a 29-23 victory over Montpellier yesterday.

The defeat for Montpellier has left Leinster five points clear at the top of Pool 4 and in pole position to seal a quarter-final spot.

Scarlets' Liam Williams (right) and RC Toulon's Duane Vermeulen battle for the ball. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA
Scarlets' Liam Williams (right) and RC Toulon's Duane Vermeulen battle for the ball. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA

Challenge Cup holders Montpellier were made to pay for their indiscipline when Paul Willemse became their second player in as many weeks to be given a red card.

Tries from Akapusi Qera, Jesse Mogg and Nemani Nadolo had put the visitors in sight of victory as they led 23-19, but Willemse was dismissed on the hour mark which allowed Castres to fight their way back into the game.

Capitalised

Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis was sent to the bin for a professional foul shortly after Willemse's departure, and while Montpellier were down to 13 men Castres capitalised through a try from Alexander Bias which was converted by Benjamin Urdapilleta to give the home side a three-point lead. Rory Kockott then kicked a penalty to hand his side a crucial victory over their Top 14 rivals.

Leigh Halfpenny missed two late penalties as Scarlets held on to secure a famous 22-21 victory over Toulon at Parc y Scarlets.

Halfpenny kicked seven penalties but crucially was wayward with four other attempts - two in each half.

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Scarlets had led from the 11th minute when Rhys Patchell, who kicked 17 points with the boot, landed a penalty, with man of the match Scott Williams scoring the only try of the match in the first half.

Defending champions Saracens kept up their 100pc record (the only unbeaten team in the Champions Cup) with a hard-fought 24-10 win over Sale.

Elsewhere on Saturday, in Ulster's pool, Exeter hooker Cowan-Dickie scored the crucial second-half try and out-half Henry Slade was named man of the match as the Chiefs won their first game of the campaign.

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