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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 18 April, 2019


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Good afternoon and welcome along to our live coverage of today’s Pool 3 clash from the RDS, where Leinster will look to get their campaign up and running against Top 14 outfit Montpellier.

Kick off in Dublin 4 is at 1pm, and we’ll have all the build-up between now and then right here.

The Leinster team has just arrived at the RDS and there’s news of a late change in their starting XV with Scott Fardy dropping out for personal reasons. James Ryan is drafted straight into the second row with Ross Molony providing the back up off the bench.

James Ryan Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Fardy’s absence is another blow for Leinster who are already without the injured Johnny Sexton and Sean O’Brien. Montpellier are unchanged from the side they named yesterday.


15. Joey Carbery
14. Adam Byrne
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Isa Nacewa (captain)
11. Barry Daly
10. Ross Byrne
9. Luke McGrath

1. Jack McGrath
2. James Tracy
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. Rhys Ruddock
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan


16. Seán Cronin
17. Cian Healy
18. Michael Bent
19. Ross Molony
20. Jordi Murphy
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Noel Reid
23. Fergus McFadden


15. Jesse Mogg
14. Benjamin Fall
13. Joseph Tomane
12. Frans Steyn
11. Nemani Nadolo
10. Thomas Darmon
9. Ruan Pienaar

1. Mikheil Nariashvili
2. Bismarck Du Plessis
3. Antoine Guillamon
4. Jacques Du Plessis
5. Nicholaas Van Rensburg
6. Kelian Galletier
7. Yacouba Camara
8. Louis Picamoles


16. Romain Ruffenach
17. Yvan Watremez
18. Davit Kubriashvili
19. Julien Delannoy
20. Wiaan Liebenberg
21. Benoit Paillaugue
22. Timoci Nagusa
23. Joffrey Michel

A general view of a Montpellier jersey Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

A general view of Champions Cup match balls at the RDS Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Isa Nacewa arrives Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Isa Nacewa arrives Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

A little over half an hour until kick off at the RDS. To whet the appetite, have a browse of our pre-match preview while you can catch up on Ulster’s opening night victory over Wasps here.

A general view of a Leinster jersey Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

It’s a perfect Saturday afternoon for a game with a light breeze blowing across the ground and the pitch in immaculate condition. Both sides may be missing players but there are so many intriguing match ups around the park, not least the out-half battle between Ross Byrne and Thomas Darmon, even if it wasn’t the one we all hoped to see.

There are a couple of familiar faces back at the RDS today.

Ruan Pienaar Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Nathan Hines Source: James Crombie/INPHO

1 – Leinster 0-0 Montpellier: We’re underway at the RDS!

1 – Leinster 0-0 Montpellier: Montpellier start like a house on fire and take it up as far as Leinster’s 5m line with Pienaar conducting. James Ryan turns them over with Leinster under pressure, however, and Ross Byrne – in for Johnny Sexton – puts boot to ball.

4 – Leinster 0-0 Montpellier: Byrne smashes Pienaar off a Montpellier lineout, causes the ball to come loose. Leinster put the squeeze on the Frenchmen who retain possession in their own 22 and eventually clear.

6 – Leinster 0-0 Montpellier: Henshaw has started well with two impactful carries. Bit of foot tennis in the opening exchanges, though. GAH! Just as I say that, Joey Carbery fails to collect a kick and knocks the ball on in his own 22.

7 – Leinster 0-0 Montpellier: Nemani Nadolo spills the ball forward as Montpellier look to go wide from the resulting scrum. McGrath passes to Carbery, who again knocks on – this time on his own 5m line – but Wayne Barnes brings it back for Nadolo’s error. Scrum Leinster, and they clear through Byrne.

11 – Leinster 0-0 Montpellier: Leinster marshaling ‘the rib splinterer’ Nadolo well so far, actually, although no sooner than I’ve typed that does he sit Adam Byrne down with a serious bosch ball from almost a standing position.

14 – Leinster 0-0 Montpellier: Feeling-out process, really, in the opening quarter of an hour. Montpellier fullback Jesse Mogg drills a lovely left-footed kick into touch, but Leinster win a penalty from their subsequent lineout as the Top14 side go off their feet at the breakdown.

17 – Leinster 0-0 Montpellier: Nice footwork by Joey Carbery puts Henshaw into space, briefly, on the French side’s 22. Leinster go wide through McGrath.

17 – Leinster 5-0 Montpellier: TRRYYYYYYYYY Leinster! Ross Byrne swings it wide to Carbery, who started the move on the other side of the pitch, and duly flies over in the corner from the 22.

18 – Leinster 5-0 Montpellier: Ross Byrne’s conversion falls victim to the strong breeze at the RDS.

21 – Leinster 5-0 Montpellier: Leinster slow the ball down at ruck time on their own 22 and win a scrum to rapturous applause from the home faithful.

24 – Leinster 5-0 Montpellier: Nacewa links up with Barry Daly on the right flank. Daly cuts inside and pops the ball to Adam Byrne, who takes Leinster up beyond the 10m line with a massive run. Leinster power into the 22, crowd on their feet.

25 – Leinster 5-0 Montpellier: A slip from Luke McGrath halts Leinster’s momentum briefly, but they’re very close. Josh van der Flier – TRRYYY—oh, wait, Wayne Barnes is going upstairs. ‘Any reason’ is the question.

25 – Leinster 12-0 Montpellier: TRRYYYYYY LEINSTER! The TMO sees nothing to dictate that the score be ruled out, and Josh van der Flier’s crossing is rewarded with five points. Ross Byrne’s conversion is…good! 12-zip.

28 – Leinster 12-0 Montpellier: Visitors seeking a foothold, building the phases, but Leinster’s line-speed is impressive. Mogg is the latest to be swallowed up and knock the ball on. Scrum Leinster about 15 yards inside their own half.

30 – Leinster 12-0 Montpellier: A kick from François Philippus Lodewyk Steyn gets caught in the wind, sails all the way dead from 60-odd yards. Scrum Leinster to huge ironic cheers.

32 – Leinster 12-0 Montpellier: Leinster into the Montpellier 22 from the scrum, building phases and prodding at the French side’s defence. Ah, penalty Montpellier for holding on.

33 – Leinster 12-0 Montpellier: Bismarck Du Plessis’ lineout misses its target and bobbles loose. Leinster work the ball back beyond the Montpellier 10 but Du Plessis turns them over! Back come Montpellier, and they’re ran into touch near the Leinster 22.

35 – Leinster 12-0 Montpellier: Steyn scythes through the Leinster rearguard with a barn-storming run. Montpellier up to the Leinster 5 and knocking on the door. Nadolo is held up over the line. Montpellier put-in, no TMO. That actually looks like a mistake from Barnes – I think Nadolo got that down, albeit briefly! Jaysus, me fingers!

36 – Leinster 12-0 Montpellier: Leinster definitely got away with one there. Should have been a try.

37 – Leinster 12-7 Montpellier: TRRYYYY MONTPELLIER! Barnes’ error doesn’t matter! Nadolo crashes over in the left-hand corner having picked up a bounced pass! Pienaar’s conversion is a beaut.

Half-time: Leinster 12-7 Montpellier

40 – Leinster 12-7 Montpellier: Ross Byrne kicks us off to begin the second half. Dearie me, Ruan Pienaar box kicks out on the full from outside his 22. Leinster ball 25 yards from the Montpellier line. And the French side steal the lineout!

41 – Leinster 12-7 Montpellier: Ross Byrne puts James Ryan into a bit of space and Leinster win a penalty at the breakdown. Barnes marches Montpellier back a further 10 yards for booting the ball away and preventing the quick tap. Leinster have it in the 22, and win an advantage for offside.

42 – Leinster 19-7 Montpellier: TRRYYYYYYYYYY LEINSTER! Jesse Mogg is beaten in the air from a speculative Ross Byrne kick, and the ball bobbles straight into the arms of Robbie Henshaw, who crashes over from point-blank range. Byrne nails the conversion.

47 – Leinster 19-7 Montpellier: Scrappy couple of minutes with neither team retaining possession. Montpellier have it around halfway for the moment.

48 – Leinster 19-7 Montpellier: Ross Byrne is just booting the ball into the air at every opportunity, but his last couple have been panicked and extremely wayward. Crowd frustrated, although he follows up his most recent entry with a big hit on the catcher. Leinster punching holes around midfield, now.

50 – Leinster 19-7 Montpellier: BEAUTIFUL offload from Byrne to Conan, and Leinster are deep inside the Top14 side’s 22. Henshaw offloads to Luke McGrath after taking contact but the scrum-half can’t hold onto it.

54 – Leinster 19-7 Montpellier: Cian Healy swashbuckling in midfield, makes yardage before Adam Byrne takes Leinster back into the Montpellier 22. The home side are pinged for holding on, however.

56 – Leinster 19-7 Montpellier: Visitors making inroads, up to the Leinster 22 with big carries from Picamoles in particular. Nadolo bulldozes a defender but Robbie Henshaw makes an UNBELIEVABLE turnover on the ground!

57 – Leinster 19-7 Montpellier: The previous passage of play was amazing. Henshaw got bounced by Nadolo, caught him around the ankles in a recovery tackle, then counter-rucked and ripped the ball from the first Montpellier man in – may have been Pienaar.

59 – Leinster 19-7 Montpellier: Wonderful offload sends Montpellier replacement Joffrey Michel away, but his chip over Joey Carbery on the home straight bounces forcefully backwards – over his own head – and into Leinster arms. Very unlucky.

62 – Leinster 19-14 Montpellier: TRRYYYYYY MONTPELLIER! It’s that man Nemani Nadolo again! He buries over from five metres out. Pienaar does the rest.

64 – Leinster 19-14 Montpellier: Gibson-Park, on for McGrath, has his box kick caught spectacularly by Barry Daly on the left flank. The Kiwi’s fellow sub Noel Reid chips into what he thought was space, but Joffrey Michael collects and steps two tacklers. Montpellier clear but concede a penalty.

66 – Leinster 24-14 Montpellier: TRRRYYYYYYYYYYYY LEINSTER!!! AND THERE’S THE BONUS POINT! A wonderful score finished by Barry Daly in the left-hand corner after some nice work by Henshaw and Carbery. A superb two minutes from Daly. Conversion sails wide and right.

69 – Leinster 24-14 Montpellier: Visitors win a penalty just inside the 10m line, straight in front of the posts. Pienaar raises the flags. Seven points in it.

72 – Leinster 24-17 Montpellier: Huge carry by Jack Conan takes Leinster to the 22, but Leo Cullen’s men are penalised for coming in off their feet. Pienaar kicks the Frenchmen into Leinster territory.

73 – Leinster 24-17 Montpellier: Steyn and Tomane get Montpellier rolling once more. A saucy Pienaar box-kick-slash-chip piles pressure on Carbery, who collects it and continues into touch inside his own 5m line. Dangerous times.

74 – Leinster 24-17 Montpellier: YELLOW CARD FOR ADAM BYRNE for a deliberate knock-on. Barnes checks upstairs to see if it should also be a penalty try. Thankfully, for 14-man Leinster, it’s just a penalty. Montpellier opt for the scrum.

75 – Leinster 24-17 Montpellier: Montpellier absolutely BOTCH a clear overlap and knock the ball on! Timoci Nagusa – what were you thinking?! The Fijian tried to go it alone with a spare man outside. A huge let-off for the home team, and they win a penalty from the resulting scrum.

77 – Leinster 24-17 Montpellier: The home side force another knock-on from Montpellier near midfield. Win a penalty for offside.

78 – Leinster 24-17 Montpellier:Ross Byrne going for three from range. Well short. Strikes as a very curious decision to go for the posts from all of 50 yards when Leinster could have prodded it into touch and seen this out.

79 – Leinster 24-17 Montpellier: Robbie Henshaw is named Man of the Match.

80 – Leinster 24-17 Montpellier: A scary moment as Tomane puts Nadolo into space down the left wing. The wrecking ball kicks forward but Leinster regather with time elapsed. Gibson-Park boots it into touch and Leinster win!

Full-time: Leinster 24-17 Montpellier.

That’s it for our live coverage of Leinster-Montpellier at the RDS. The home side emerge with a bonus-point victory, while the visitors will return to France with a losing BP. Be sure to keep your eye on The42 in the coming hours as we’ll have lots more reaction from Leinster’s opener. Thanks for joining us!

About the author:

Ryan Bailey


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