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Connacht host Montpellier in first Champions Cup meeting

Friday 15th November 2019

1:35 pm (GMT)

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Connacht Rugby

Connacht Rugby and Montpellier face off for the first time in the Heineken Champions Cup this weekend in a Pool 5 meeting at The Sportsground. You can watch live from 13:00 GMT on Sunday on BT Sport.

Key quotes

  • Andy Friend (Connacht): “Well, it’s always great to have a French team travelling. Montpellier, we know the strength of them, they’re a quality side, they’re having a good season this year, but to welcome them to the Sportsground [Stadium] is going to be good for our fans. It’s great because they love supporting Connacht [Rugby] and they really get excited when it’s [the] Champions Cup, so there’ll be a lot of energy around that Sunday afternoon.”
  • Xavier Garbajosa (Montpellier): “Yes, I played against them with La Rochelle several times. They’re a team that’s very open in their play; they’re an Irish team that does the basics well. They’re a well-disciplined team. It’s very difficult to get a result up in Galway, so we’ll give ourselves every chance of making a good start to the competition.”

Key facts

  • The two sides have never met in the Champions Cup but have clashed eight times in the Challenge Cup with the Irish province winning six of them meetings.
  • Connacht have won the first match in their last five European campaigns.
  • Montpellier have never won in Ireland in European competition.
  • Montpellier had the best ruck success rate in the Heineken Champions Cup last season (98%).

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Battling Connacht defeat Montpellier

Sunday 17th November 2019

3:22 pm (GMT)

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Battling Connacht defeat Montpellier

Connacht’s Conor Fitzgerald kicks a crucial penalty

Connacht Rugby got their Heineken Champions Cup Pool 5 campaign off to the perfect start with a 23-20 win over Montpellier at The Sportsground.

Montpellier dominated early on and got the first try after Jack Carty chipped a ball over the top that was recovered by the French side and as they spreaded play wide, Aaron Cruden found himself in acres of space and sprinted clear for the opening try.

The sides traded penalties in a first half edged by Montpellier but the final five minutes of the opening 40 proved critical for the visitors.

On 38 minutes, Connacht’s attacking scrum proved strong and that allowed the forwards to do the damage, with Paul Boyle scrambling over the try line.

But the damage was not done by the Irish province as Montpellier ended up down to 14 men for an infringement at the line-out, and from the resulting play, Connacht’s driving maul did the business as Tom McCartney barged his way over, putting Connacht 13-10 up at the interval.

The French side got level with a Benoit Paillaugue penalty on 47 minutes but they were not level for long as Connacht scored their third try of the match.

Five minutes later, Connacht worked the ball well and with two penalty advantages being played, that gave Caolin Blade the chance to dive between two Montpellier men and score a crucial try.

Montpellier were not done with and responded yet again on 64 minutes, working the play wide right and finding Anthony Boutier who did extremely well to see off two tackles, sprinting clear for the score.

With 13 minutes to play, Connacht then won a penalty in kicking range and young Conor Fitzgerald booted over with pinpoint accuracy for what turned out to be the match-winning points.

Connacht travel to face Toulouse in Round 2 while Montpellier will host Gloucester Rugby.

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