Johan goosen the second half proved the difference because Montpellier sharp Leicester 18-17 to earn the European Challenge Cup heavy rain finish Twickenham Friday.

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Leicester were 17-10 ahead at the start of the second half of a rocking match thanks to the try of No.8 Jasper Wiese.

But when the man of the match Goosen, his compatriot South Africa, switched to Montpellier in the 58th minute, the French club had a slim 18-17 lead after Benoit Paillague’s conversion came back to the far post.

Montpellier, also champion in 2016, was twice reduced to 14 men after No.8 Alexandre Becognee and captain Guilhem Guirado were sentenced.

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“When I took over we lost five games in a row, mostly late,” said Montpellier boss Philippe Saint-André, appointed in January.

“But today we were well organized defensively. When we got the ball we were dangerous and scored some great tries.

Montpellier’s victory means France are guaranteed a European club double this season, with Top 14 rivals Toulouse and La Rochelle playing in the European Champions Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday.

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The defeat left two-time European champion Leicester in search of his first major trophy since winning the last of his 10 English Premiership titles in 2013.

Yet a team that would have been relegated from the Premiership last season without the demotion of the Saracens due to salary cap violations, pushed Montpellier to the end.

“I had the impression that everyone was giving everything they had there”, said Tigers captain Tom Youngs.

“Everyone knows what we’ve been through the past few years as a club and there were young boys tonight who will grow tremendously from this experience.

In front of a crowd of 10,000 fans, mostly from Leicester, fans – the first time spectators have been seen at the 80,000-seater Twickenham pitch since last year’s Fall Nations Cup after restrictions were eased of Covid-19 this week – an entertaining first half ended it all. square to 10-10.

Both teams scored a penalty and each converted a try, with French winger Vincent Rattez passing for Montpellier before the lock Harry Wells passed for Leicester.

The Tigers faced a star-studded Montpellier side, with Saint-André leaving three of the 2019 Rugby World Cup winners in South Africa – Bismarck du Plessis, Cobus Reinach and Handre Pollard – on the bench.

But it was Johan Goosen, who won the last of his 13 Springbok caps in 2016, who produced the key score.

Leicester took the lead in the eighth minute when England halfback George Ford threw a penalty.

Montpellier responded six minutes later when Rattez won the touchdown race with his own grubber kick.

Paillaugue kicked off the conversion and, minutes later, the scrum-half penalty gave Montpellier a 10-3 lead.

Montpellier, however, was a downed man for the last 10 minutes of the first half when Becognee was sentenced for collapsing a maul.

Leicester then made his man’s advantage count when second row Wells pushed his way in for a try.

Ford’s conversion tied the score at 10-10.

Leicester believed they scored a try thanks to Nemani Nadolo early in the second half, but the effort from the Fijian wing was ruled out by a strike earlier in the movement.

Montpellier was at 14 again when hooker Guirado received a yellow card.

Leicester, rather than going to goal, threw in the ensuing penalty for a point-blank lineout and was rewarded when No.8 Wiese was kicked out for a try.

Ford added the difficult conversion before Paillaugue’s successful second penalty of the match reduced Montpellier’s deficit to 17-13.

And they were in the lead when full-back Anthony Bouthier counterattacked before releasing Johan Goosen with an inside pass.

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Source: www.thesouthafrican.com
This notice was published: 2021-05-22 07:48:53

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