Falcons soar late to top Montpellier
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Newcastle Falcons flank Callum Chick scored an 89th minute try as they defeated Montpellier 23-20 in a bruising Pool Five clash at Kingston Park.
The home side got off to a great start after Louis Picamoles was penalised for straying offside, giving Joel Hodgson the chance to slot over to the roars of the Kingston Park faithful.
Minutes later, Newcastle kept ball in hand and stretched the Montpellier defence before a Callum Green breakaway pushed the visitors into their own 22.
The ball finally reached Gary Graham who dived over in the corner, with Hodgson slotting over the conversion in tricky conditions.
The two sides then traded penalties with two goals kicked each by Hodgson and Ruan Pienaar, giving Newcastle a 10-point lead at the interval.
Montpellier dominated the second period and took advantage of a host of errors from Newcastle, with Pienaar trimming the gap down to four points with two penalty kicks.
The inevitable try then followed for the away side after Montpellier’s driving maul was eventually bundled over the try line by Paul Willemse.
Pienaar missed the conversion but was able to slot over a kickable penalty just minutes later, giving Montpellier a four-point lead as the clock turned red.
Hodgson then kicked two penalties into the Montpellier 22 as Newcastle attempted to power over the try line with little success.
But after 39 phases and in the 89th minute of the match, Callum Chick was able to find the strength to inch his way over the line and give Newcastle Falcons a historic victory at Kingston Park.
The Pool 5 leaders will now travel to face Edinburgh Rugby at BT Murrayfield in Round 3, while Montpellier will take on RC Toulon in an all-French clash.
For Newcastle Falcons:
Tries: Graham, Chick
Cons: Hodgson 2
Pens: Hodgson 3
Pens: Pienaar 5
Yellow card: Logovi’i Mulipola (Newcastle Falcons, 73)
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Michael Young, 8 Ryan Burrows, 7 Gary Graham, 6 Mark Wilson (captain), 5 Glen Young, 4 Calum Green, 3 David Wilson, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Sami Mavinga.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Will Witty, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Chris Harris.
Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Vincent Martin, 13 Yvan Reilhac, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Gabriel N’gandebe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Louis Picamoles (captain), 7 Wiaan Liebenberg, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Vincent Giudicelli, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Grégory Fichten, 18 Antoine Guillamon, 19 Julien Le Devedec, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Enzo Sanga, 22 Thomas Darmon, 23 Arthur Vincent.
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), Dave Sutherland (Scotland)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) October 21, 2018