‘World class’ French show their fire­power

The Rugby Paper - - European Champions Cup - By ALEX BY­WA­TER

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

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