Montpellier v Leinster

Leo Cullen's side look to make it two wins out of two in France

John O'Sullivan Sun, Oct 23
LIVE: Montpellier v Leinster

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  • 12:55

    Hello and welcome to the Irish Times rugby blog. John O'Sullivan here to take you through Leinster's trip to Montpellier and then Connacht's visit to Zebre.

  • 12:58

    We are about four minutes away from kick-off. Some team news from yesterday.  

    Mick Kearney was a late replacements. The second row will make his European debut when he replaces Mike McCarthy in the starting line-up after the Ireland international came down with illness.

    McCarthy did not travel with the Leinster squad to France and Ian Naglen turn comes onto the bench.


  • 13:00
    It's been raining heavily in Montpellier all morning.  
  • 13:01
    Time for a minute's silence in honour of the late Anthony Foley, the Shannon, Munster and Ireland colossus.  
  • 13:01
  • 13:02
    A lovely gesture from the two teams and the supporters of a minute's applause. A few tears there for a couple of Leinster players.  
  • 13:02
  • 13:03
    Leinster in their yellow jerseys. Garry Ringrose fields the opening kickoff and thumps the ball past the half wayline.
  • 13:05
    Devin Toner knocks on from the 22 drop out. Montpellier scrum and the first of the match.  
  • 13:05
  • 13:06
    Rock solid scrum doesn't budge but eventually goes down after six seconds. Re-set.  
  • 13:07
    Leinster wore red training t-shirts over their jerseys for the minute's applause to honour Anthony Foley.  
  • 13:08
    Montpellier going wide-wide but Leinster organised in defence and force the turnover with a thumping tackle on Francois Steyn. Zane Kirchner with the hit.  
  • 13:10
    Leinster win a penalty on the halfway line when the home side are penalised at a ruck. Sexton thumps it down the touchline and into the Montpellier 22. Toner takes.  
  • 13:11
    A misplaced pass pre-empts a turnover in the 22 and scrumhalf Nic White clears for Montpellier.
  • 13:12
    Jonathan Sexton's Garryowen carries too far and it's an easy catch for Montpellier Joffrey Michel in his 22.  
  • 13:15
    Leinster with a couple of turnovers but Sexton reclaims possession, only for Leinster to lose it again. Jamie Heaslip does brilliantly to force the home side to concede a penalty. The visitors clear to the halfway line. It's scrappy stuff and the breakdown is a proper contest.  
  • 13:16
    Rob Kearney tries a little grubber kick but it goes straight to Michel who promptly boots it into Leinster's touch and goal. A 22 drop out.  
  • 13:17
    The pitch is cutting up badly.  
  • 13:18
    Both teams are looking to offload in the tackle and fortunately for Leinster Montpellier are throwing 30/70 passes and turning over the ball.  
  • 13:19
    Sean O'Brien penalised at a ruck. Montpellier back on the Leinster 10 metre line. It's where most of the match has been played.  
  • 13:19
  • 13:21
    There is little subtlety to Montpellier's patterns, hard carrying, trying to inflict blunt force trauma.
  • 13:23
    Leinster scrum. Luke Grath kicks. Michel fields. He kicks. Sexton marks. It's that sort of game.  
  • 13:24
    Leinster concede a penalty from a Montpellier lineout maul. Frans Steyn will take this on from the Leinster 10 metre line. Distance won't be an issue.  
  • 13:25
    But accuracy is. Leinster survive as Steyn pulls his effort wide. The Montpellier maul though is a concern. Leinster can't afford to concede lineouts in their 22 on the basis of the match so far.  
  • 13:26
    O'Brien forces Fulgence Quedraogo to concede a penalty at a ruck. Leinster back in the Montpellier 22.  
  • 13:26
  • 13:28
    Leinster win lineout, the maul is stationary so McGrath feeds Sexton who grubbers through to about two metres from the Montpellier line. Michael collects easily and Nadolo clears.  
  • 13:30

    Sexton now has a chance for the opening score of the match. Interesting. It'll be Isa Nacewa to take it on. Jonathan Sexton's hamstring strain which kept him out last week, means he won't placekick in the heavy conditions.

    24 mins: Nacewa penalty, Montpellier 0 Leinster 3

  • 13:31
    Excellent clearance from Rob Kearney. A Montpellier lineout on halfway.
  • 13:33
    Leinster concede a penalty in trying to defend the Montpellier maul. Poor discipline.  
  • 13:35

    TRY: Vicent Martin. It comes from a Cian Healy turnover and Martin skates through a gap and runs 35 metres unmolested. Soft isn't the word. Steyn adds the conversion.  

    30 mins: Montpellier 7 Leinster 3

  • 13:38
    Michel cleans up another Sexton bomb. Leinster penalised at a lineout. Styen brings play into Leinster 22. Trouble brewing for the visitors.  
  • 13:41

    Leinster are losing the collisions. Montpellier set their maul well. Go wide and try, Nadolo. Steyn and Michel leave Nadolo one-on-one with Rob Kearney and the huge winger bounces the Leinster and Ireland fullback and races over in the corner.  Steyn conversion from the touchline.  

    TRY: Nadolo, conversion Steyn

    36 mins: Montpellier 14 Leinster 3



  • 13:43
    Knock on from Devin Toner. Half-time can't come quickly enough for Leinster.  
  • 13:44
    The band is playing and the Montpellier tails are up. It's a punsihing heavy and soft surface and Leinster are likely to have to make some adjustments at halftime, possibly in personnel.  
  • 13:45
    Josh van der Flier rips the ball away but loses possession and that's the halftime whistle.  
  • 13:45
    HALFTIME: Montpellier 14 Leinster 3
  • 13:46
    I like Midi Olympique's tongue-in-cheek picture of what it must be like to try and tackle Nadolo.  
  • 13:46
  • 13:48
    Leinster were reasonably solid for 30-minutes but those two tries were soft defensively. Leinster not getting their carriers over the gain-line, the kicking game has been a little erratic, and they have offered nothing in the way of cohesive back play. The pitch is obviously a factor but they have to find a way.
  • 13:56
  • 13:56

    Leinster's 6-2 split between forwards and backs on the bench illustrates how they thought the contest was likely to pan out. A new frontrow within 15 minutes of the restart is likely.


  • 13:59
  • 14:00
    Joey Carbery on for Sexton and Jordi Murphy for Sean O'Brien. Not a surprise given the opening 40-minutes. Sexton felt his leg a little gingerly after one particular kick.  
  • 14:02
    Good positive start from Leinster but then Healy concedes a penalty on the Montpellier 22.  
  • 14:05
    Montpellier maul Leinster back about 25 metres before a superb double tackle on Peirre Spies forces a turnover. McGrath's relieving kick is underwhelming.  
  • 14:08

    Leinster harshly penalised at a scrum. Steyn going to extend Montpellier's lead. Again came from a succession of errors from the visiting team that gave the home side field position.  

    46 mins: Steyn penalty.

    Montpellier 17 Leinster 3

  • 14:11
    Ian Nagle is on for Mick Kearney, Jack McGrath for Cian Healy and Sean Cronin for Tracy.  
  • 14:14
    Huge head collision between McGrath and Jannie du Plessis ends with the Springbok out cold. he's gone for a HIA. If he comes back it's a terrible moment for the sport.  
  • 14:14
  • 14:17

    Montpellier conceding a few penalties. Nacewa's going to have a shot at goal from about 30 metres. Carbery has been excellent since his introduction, his footwork a real challenge for the Montpellier defence.

    51 mins: PENALTY, Nacewa

    Montpellier 17 Leinster 6

  • 14:17
    Leinster concede another lineout penalty but Steyn misses touch.
  • 14:24

    YELLOW CARD: Rob Kearney. Joffrey Michel kicks through Rob Kearney stands his ground and Michel goes down like a dying swan. The English referee Luke Pearce decides it was a late hit? It wasn't. He awards a yellow card and a penalty. Harsh but they've been given in the past. Michel's dive was probably the most unsavoury part.  

  • 14:25
    Montpellier go to the corner, the maul goes forward but a superb effort from a 14-man Leinster team and they win the scrum turnover for keeping up the maul.  
  • 14:28
    TRY: Nadolo. From the five metre scrum close to the touchline, Jamie Heaslip goes blind but Nadolo reads his intended pass to Kirchner and plunges over the line. Sums up Leinster's afternoon in some respects. Self inflicted wounds.
  • 14:29

    Steyn misses the conversion.

    60 mins: Montpellier 22 Leinster 6

  • 14:29
    Michael Bent on for Ross
  • 14:31

    Leinster have 20-minutes with two goals, one to try and somehow get a bonus point out of this match and two try and ensure that Montpellier with three tries don't get one of their own, if the home side grabs a fourth.

    61 mins: Nacewa penalty

    Montpellier 22 Leinster 9

  • 14:34
    Jamison Gibson Park on for McGrath. Superb break from Ringrose takes play to the Montpellier but Murphy drops Gibson Park's pass.  
  • 14:36
    Henshaw saves Leinster by taking down Nadolo after Kirchner misses the first up tackle.  
  • 14:39
    Leinster on the Montpellier 10 metre line. There are 10-minutes left.  
  • 14:40
    Leinster work a move that is undone by a forward pass. It's been poor from the visitors in a general sense.  
  • 14:42
    Montpellier have been gifted their three tries.  
  • 14:45
    Leinster's best passage of the match and it involved two of the brighest talents in Irish rugby, Garry Ringrose and Joey Carbery. Of all their teammates they shown the footwork to beat defenders and in Ringrose's case has been his side's outstanding player.
  • 14:47
    That about sums it up from Leinster. They couldn't get over from a yard after some excellent, patient build-up play and hard carrying. White line fever by several players, albeit they came up inches short but there was a glaring overlap out wide, ignored for the most part and then when they did go wide they were bundled into touch.  
  • 14:49
    Leinster will get one final chance. A scrum 25 metres from the Montpellier line in front of the posts. Dan Leavy, who almost scored in that period of Leinster pressure, has been on for about three or four minutes in place of Josh van der Flier, Nadolo is man of the match. Two tries.  
  • 14:50
    TRY: Nacewa.
  • 14:51
  • 14:52

    Leinster escape Montpeillier with a bonus point.  

  • 14:54

    Brilliant pass from Gibson Park allows Nacewa to scoot over in the corner and he showed the presence of mind to run infield about 15 metres, making his conversion slightly easier. He hstill had to nail it and did.  

    It was the last play of the game.

    FULLTIME: Montpellier 22 Leinster 16

  • 14:55
    Chapeau to Jamie Heaslip for another massive game and especially in those final moments when he was involved several times.  
  • 14:56
    Also credit to Leinster coach Leo Cullen. His decision to go with a 6-2 bench split made a difference. The impact of the replacements was appreciable in those final 10-minutes.  
  • 15:01
    Leinster showed character to snatch that point which could be vital. Sexton's hamstring injury a worry. Carbery superb when he came on, Ringrose, oustanding, Henshaw excellent for the most part and the bench made a big difference. Three soft tries conceded will be annoying for the coaching team but that late try will act as a salve on a different afternoon against a huge Montpellier side on a soft, cloying pitch.  
  • 15:01
  • 15:02
    Right I'm going to switch my attentions to Connacht. They are on in 15-minutes against Zebre at the Stadio Lanfranchi.  
  • 15:02
    Thanks for your company.  
  • 15:10