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Montpellier rise to No.1 after edging willing Lions

MATCH REPORT: Montpellier climbed to the summit of the Challenge Cup’s Pool Two, following their hard-earned 13-3 over a willing Lions team in a Round Three match at Stade Yves-du-Manoir on Saturday.

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The home team, who trailed 0-3 after a scrappy first half, scored both their tries in the second half.

Montpellier, who faces Benetton in Treviso next week, are on 14 points in top spot in the pool – ahead of the Italian outfit, Benetton, who has 11 points.

The Lions, who host Ospreys at Ellis Park next week are in third place on nine points – the same as Ospreys, who have an inferior points differential.

* To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!

Challenge Cup Pool Two standings after three rounds

Montpellier applied the early pressure and a couple of penalties allowed flyhalf Paolo Garbisi a shot at goal. However, he was wide of the mark.

The French side continued to dominate possession and territory, with the Lions forced into a defensive role.

They did well, with World Cup-winning Springbok Cobus Reinach being held up over the line.

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Garbisi had another shot at goal in the 17th minute and again he was wide.

The Lions weren’t helping their cause with mistakes, given the limited possession they had in the first half.

Just past the half-hour mark Jordan Hendrikse put the Lions into the lead with a penalty, after great breakdown work by flank Johannes Pretorius.

The visitors took that three-point lead into the half-time break.

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Montpellier started by bringing some heavyweights off the bench, including South African-born French international Paul Willemse – who made an immediate impact.

It produced immediate results, with centre Geoffrey Doumayrou going over in the right corner. Garbisi pulled another kick wide but the home had the lead at last – 5-3.

On the 50-minute mark, Garbisi finally slotted a kick, his penalty stretching the lead to 8-3 – as they continued to dominate territory and possession.

The penalty count now also started mounting at an alarming rate.

It was Willemse who eventually barged over from close range, after a large number of raids by the Montpellier forwards ion the Lions’ line. Garbisi still struggled with his kicking – leaving the home team with a 10-point (13-3) lead.

The Lions launched a late raid in the hope of a losing bonus point, but Pretorius lost the ball on his way to the line.

Man of the match: The Lions trio of Izan Esterhuizen, Conraad van Vuuren and Hanru Sirgel was the epitome of the heart with which the team played. World Cup-winning Springbok Cobus Reinach was impressive behind a dominant Montpellier pack, while South African-born French international Paul Willemse made a massive impact as a second-half replacement. Our award goes to Montpellier flank Clement Doumenc – with eight carries for 40 metres, seven tackles and two turnovers won.

The scorers

For Montpellier
Tries: Doumayrou, Willemse
Pen: Garbisi

For the Lions
Pen: Hendrikse

Teams

Montpellier: 15 Julien Tisseron, 14 George Bridge, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Jan Serfontein (captain), 11 Masi Dakuwaqa, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Mael Perrin, 7 Clement Doumenc, 6 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 5 Bastien Chalureau, 4 Tyler Duguid, 3 Lasha Macharashvili, 2 Vano Karkadze, 1 Gregory Fichten.
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Enzo Forletta, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Cantin Foguet, 21 Louis Foursans-Bourdette, 22 Auguste Cadot, 23 Thomas Darmon.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Rynhardt Jonker, 11 Boldwin Hansen, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Nico Steyn, 8 Hanru Sirgel, 7 Izan Esterhuizen, 6 Johannes Pretorius, 5 Darrien Landsberg, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie (captain), 1 Morgan Naudé.
Replacements: 16 Morné Brandon, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Raynard Roets, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Travis Gordon, 22 Johan Mulder, 23 Gianni Lombard.

Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Finlay Brown (Scotland), Ethan Glass (Switzerland)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

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Montpellier v Lions match stats

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