European Rugby Champions Cup: Montpellier 22-16 Leinster
|European Champions Cup Pool 4|
|Montpellier (14) 22|
|Tries: Martin, Nadolo 2; Cons: Steyn 2; Pen: Steyn|
|Leinster (3) 16|
|Try: Nacewa; Con: Nacewa; Pens: Nacewa 3|
A last-minute try and conversion from Isa Nacewa gave Leinster a vital losing bonus point against Montpellier and put them top of Pool 4.
Home side Montpellier dominated and led 14-3 at the interval after tries from Vincent Martin and Nemani Nadolo.
Nadolo scored an opportunistic third while Rob Kearney was in the sin-bin.
Leinster trailed 22-9 with seconds left before captain Nacewa squeezed over and ran in under the posts to make the conversion a formality.
Montpellier's huge pack caused problems for Leinster in the first half and dominated the physical exchanges.
Leinster's forwards were under pressure and Cian Healy fumbled possession from a pick-and-go with Montpellier, lethal on the turnover, capitalising with the opening try through Martin after 29 minutes.
The centre spotted a mismatch in midfield and ripped through Leinster forwards Mike Ross and Jamie Heaslip.
Nadolo crashed over in the corner for Montpellier's second try in the 35th minute.
Kearney was sin-binned after 57 minutes for a late hit and with the visitors down to 14 men, Heaslip made an uncharacteristic blunder from the base of a maul.
His blindside pass to Zane Kirchner was brilliantly intercepted by Nadolo, who clinched the match-winning third try.
Sexton injury scare
Fly-half Johnny Sexton was deemed fit to start after missing last weekend's 33-15 home win over Castres after feeling a tightness in his hamstring, with rookie replacement Joey Carberry impressing in his absence.
The Ireland number 10 didn't take any chances in the heavy conditions allowing Nacewa to kick at goal but fitness is clearly still an issue and he was replaced at half-time by Carberry.
With an autumn international series and Tests against New Zealand (twice), Canada and Australia looming in a few weeks' time, worries over Sexton's hamstring injury will be a concern for Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.
Back-row Sean O'Brien was playing his first senior game since last season's Six Nations following a hamstring injury and also limped off.
What they said
Montpellier wing Nemani Nadolo: "We were a bit disappointed last week to lose at the final whistle.
"We had one of the best teams in the world here at home and we had to front up.
"We did well, we ran it a bit and I just did what I had to do."
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen: "We're happy to take a point and move on.
"We were just being ultra-cautious [with Sexton and O'Brien] at this time of year. Both will come through fine."
Montpellier: J Michel; M O'Connor, V Martin, A Dumoulin, N Nadolo; Frans Steyn, N White; Y Watremez, S Mamukashvili, J Du Plessis, J Du Plessis, P Willemse; F Ouedraogo, A Qera, P Spies.
Replacements: R Ruffenach, M Nariashvili, D Kubriashvili, N van Rensburg, W Liebenberg, T O'Leary, B Botica, J Mogg.
Leinster: R Kearney; Z Kirchner, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, I Nacewa (capt); J Sexton, L McGrath; C Healy, J Tracy, M Ross, D Toner, M Kearney, S O'Brien, J van der Flier, J Heaslip.
Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, M Bent, I Nagle, J Murphy, D Leavy, J Gibson-Park, J Carberry.