Wednesday 18 September 2019

Pienaar performance pushes Montpellier back into contention

Ruan Pienaar scored 14 points in Montpellier's 34-13 victory over former European champions Toulon. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Ruan Pienaar scored 14 points in Montpellier's 34-13 victory over former European champions Toulon. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

A Ruan Pienaar-inspired Montpellier have seized the initiative from Newcastle Falcons in the race for second place in Pool Five of the Champions Cup.

The scrum-half scored 14 points in their 34-13 victory over former European champions Toulon. That win puts Montpellier into second place, three points ahead of Falcons, who they face in the Altrad Stadium on January 12. Falcons fell to a 21-8 defeat to Edinburgh, who top the pool.

Toulouse remain in the driving seat in Pool One, despite Leinster's victory over Bath.

The French club enjoyed a bonus point 42-27 win over Wasps at Stade Ernest-Wallon to hold on to their two-point advantage, while eliminating Wasps from the equation. That result sets up a mouth-watering clash between the two in Leinster's RDS Arena in the New Year.

In Pool Three, any hope that still existed within the Cardiff Blues camp of qualifying for the knockout phase was finally diminished by Saracens.

The undisciplined Blues side conceded penalties time and again which were punished by the boot of Owen Farrell. Paired with Glasgow beating Lyon, that result means Cardiff can no longer catch their Scottish counterparts.

Nikola Matawalu dotted down for a couple as Warriors reigned supreme in tough conditions.

Meanwhile, Exeter have breathed life into their European journey by turning the tables on Gloucester at Kingsholm Stadium. Having lost at home the week before, Gareth Steenson's boot was influential in the bonus point 29-17 win.

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