‘World class’ French show their firepower
DEAN Richards saw Newcastle’s European dream end as he admitted the Falcons were blown away by “worldclass” Montpellier who ran in seven tries.
The Premiership’s bottom side can no longer reach the Champions Cup’s latter stages after this hammering at the hands of the Top14 outfit.
Newcastle’s only points came from a Toby Flood penalty and a late Zach Kibirige effort. Montpellier’s forwards bossed the game and they crossed through Timoci Nagusa and Yvan Reilhac before the break and cut loose in the second period. Henry Immelman added a brace and further French scores came from Paul Willemse, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Romain Ruffenach.
“Montpellier have a huge number of world class players. You’ve got to be on your mettle to beat them and we weren’t quite there,” said Newcastle boss Richards.
“The amount of injuries we have has played havoc and if you can’t put out your best team against Montpellier, you will come a cropper. We went into the game knowing the only chance we would have is to play with a bit of tempo and we did that, but they did the same thing which was quite surprising.”
Montpellier made ten changes and led only 12-3 at the break, but ultimately they were far too good as their power game in the tight exchanges was rewarded with points.
In an entertaining yet scrappy opening, both sides were keen to play, but it was Montpellier who opened the scoring when fly-half Johan Goosen got on the outside of Glen Young.
Wing Nagusa was the beneficiary with a simple finish in the corner. Ruan Pienaar slipped and missed the conversion and although Newcastle hit back with a Flood penalty, they soon fell further behind.
The Montpellier forwards did the hard work and Goosen fed centre Reilhac who powered over for a try which Pienaar improved.
Newcastle were still in touch going into the second half, but it didn’t last long. Montpellier unloaded their bench and fresh faces in the pack made an immediate difference.
Recent France Six Nations call-up Willemse came off the bench and crashed over for Montpellier’s third try. Pienaar converted and his team began to chase the bonuspoint score. It soon arrived.
From a powerful scrum, hands down the short side from Pienaar and Jan Serfontein fed Immelman who had a simple finish in the corner.
Van Rensburg smashed on to a Pienaar pass and through a Flood tackle to score and although Montpellier’s replacement hooker Ruffenach was yellow carded for not releasing a Newcastle tackler, it failed to stop Immelman adding his second when he intercepted a Vereniki Goneva pass.
Francois Steyn converted and there was still time for one more Montpellier try, a forward rumble ending in the returning Ruffenach burrowing over.
Kibirige grabbed a Newcastle consolation, but it was a day to forget for the Falcons.
On the way: Timoci Nagusa scores Montpellier’s opening try Spirit in defeat: Kyle Cooper of Newcastle fights for the ball