Montpellier's SA stars shine in bonus-point win
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Montpellier claimed a try-scoring bonus-point victory (45-8) against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.
With their South African contingent very prominent, they put on a fine display at the GGL Stadium in their Pool Five encounter.
The two sides engaged in a frenetic and frantic start to the game before Fijian Timoci Nagusa walked in for the games’ first try after flyhalf Johan Goosen found a gap in Falcons’ defensive line. Ruan Pienaar was wayward in his conversion attempt.
Falcons flyhalf Toby Flood did respond with a penalty to reduce the deficit, but terrific phase play from the French outfit set up their second try through Yvan Reilhac. The conversion was successful from scrumhalf Pienaar.
South African-born Paul Willemse – who has been selected in France’s training squad – made an immediate impact after coming on as a substitute by powering over for Montpellier’s third try. Ruan Pienaar was accurate from the tee to add another two points.
A try made in Bloemfontein, South Africa, secured the try-scoring bonus point with Pienaar combining with centre Jan Serfontein, who squared up two defenders and put in Henry Immelman for a simple finish for his first try. Pienaar finished what he started by slotting the conversion.
Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Immelman and Romain Ruffenach all crossed over late on to ensure an emphatic scoreline for the Top 14 club.
Zach Kibirige scored a consolation try for Newcastle Falcons but defeat in Montpellier means they can no longer progress from Pool 5.
Newcastle will host three-time champions RC Toulon in Round 6, while Montpellier head to Edinburgh in a crunch game.
Tries: Nagusa, Reilhac, Willemse, Immelman 2, Janse van Rensburg, Ruffenach
Cons: Pienaar 4, Goosen
For Newcastle Falcons:
Yellow card: Romain Ruffenach (Montpellier, 61)
Montpellier: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Yvan Reilhac, 11 Henry Immelman, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Louis Picamoles (captain), 7 Kevin Kornath, 6 Kelian Galletier, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Vincent Giudicelli, 1 Grégory Fichten.
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Usha Tcheisvhili, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 20 Benoit Paillaugue, 21 Jan Serfontein, 22 Vincent Martin, 23 Paul Willemse.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Tom Arscott, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Ryan Burrows, 7 John Hardie, 6 Gary Graham, 5 Glen Young, 4 Will Witty, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Adam Brocklebank,
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Sami Mavinga, 18 Jack Payne, 19 Calum Green, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Michael Young, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Zach Kibirige.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Andrea Piardi (Italy), Vincenzo Schipani (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)