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Sat 7 Jan 2017 | 07:12

Montpellier pull level with leaders

Montpellier pull level with leaders
Sat 7 Jan 2017 | 07:12
Montpellier pull level with leaders
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The victory kept Montpellier in third place with 46 points ahead of Clermont's mouth-watering home clash against Toulon on Sunday and second-placed La Rochelle's hosting of Castres on Saturday.

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Friday's win allowed Montpellier to bury the shock 27-32 loss at Pau last week while Bordeaux have now lost four games in succession.

Wing Jean-Baptiste Dubie put Bordeaux ahead after just three minutes at the Altrad Stadium following smart interplay between scrumhalf Yann Lesgourgues and Kiwi flank Hugh Chalmers. Simon Hickey kicked the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Fiji wing Nemani Nadolo thought he had got on the scoresheet for Montpellier but his effort was ruled out for a foot in touch.

Montpellier cut the deficit on the quarter-hour mark thanks to a 25-metre penalty from Springbok Francois Steyn, which was awarded when New Zealand flank Luke Braid impeded Australian scrumhalf Nic White.

The hard-charging Nadolo then grabbed Montpellier's first try of the night, scoring in the corner after powerfully shrugging off tackles from Romain Lonca and Blair Connor. Steyn kicked the extras for a 10-7 lead to the home side but the South African ended the first half in the sin bin following a high tackle on Connor.

Hickey popped over the resulting penalty as the two sides went into the break level at 10-10.

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Despite being a man down, Montpellier edged ahead early in the second period when centre Vincent Martin scored after being released by flank Akapusi Qera. With Steyn still off the field, White took over kicking duties but missed the difficult conversion before Bordeaux were also reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for Hickey.

The Irishman's sin-binning allowed White to hit the resulting penalty for an 18-10 Montpellier lead. Steyn returned to the fray but 10 minutes later was punished for another infringement allowing Hickey, also back in play, to succeed with a 35-metre penalty.

Steyn, having composed himself, slotted over a 30-metre kick to extend Montpellier's lead at 21-13.

However, within a minute, Bordeaux were back in contention with their second try of the night – scored by replacement scrumhalf Baptiste Serin, with Hickey hitting the extras to trail 20-21.

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Steyn again relieved some of the pressure for Montpellier with another penalty from the 22-metre line as the home side stretched to 24-20 with 10 minutes left. In a topsy-turvy match, Hickey fired over a monster 40-metre penalty to again slash the deficit to 23-24.

But former Australian rugby league star Joe Tomane then made sure of a home win with a late try, although Steyn missed the conversion. The only consolation for Bordeaux was Hickey's last-gasp penalty which allowed them to claim a bonus point.

French Top 14 table:

(played, won, drawn, lost, points for, points against, bonus points, total points)

Clermont        15  9 2  4 444 322 6 46

La Rochelle     15  8 3  4 394 285 8 46

Montpellier     16 10 0  6 409 340 6 46

Toulon          15  8 1  6 382 310 7 41

Castres         15  8 1  6 392 300 5 39

Toulouse        15  8 0  7 320 298 6 38

Bordeaux-Bègles 16  8 0  8 374 365 5 37

Racing92        15  8 1  6 325 312 2 36

Stade Français  15  7 1  7 360 369 3 33

Pau             15  7 0  8 346 385 5 33

Brive           15  7 1  7 320 359 2 32

Lyon            15  5 2  8 288 336 4 28

Grenoble        15  3 0 12 326 492 6 18

Bayonne         15  3 2 10 223 430 0 16

Agence France-Presse

PV: 3
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Montpellier pull level with leaders - france | Rugby365