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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 26 January 2021
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If you have any comments as Leinster start the defence of their trophy, email tony@thescore.ie, tweet us @thescore_ie or find us on Facebook…

Full-Time: Montpellier 16-16 Leinster

The match is a minute old. Great play by McLaughlin but the Montpellier defence holds firm…

Montpellier break the impasse but Jonathan Sexton seems to be wearing his kicking boots. The Ireland international scores a penalty to even up the scores at 3-3. It’s his 15th successive kick from his last 17 efforts.

Montpellier look threatening and Santiago Fernandez knocks it on just as he seems set to threaten the first try of the game. Penalty to Leinster. Not a great start from the Irish province.

Despite the pressure from the Montpellier pack, Leinster take the lead for the first time and it’s another Sexton penalty.

Leinster are settling into their rhythm and almost get in for a try from a Sexton kick, but Nagusa and Gorgodze clear for Montpellier.

A brilliant try from Montpellier as Amorosino breaks superbly before feeding the ball to his captain Ouedraogo. He goes under the posts and Leinster are suddenly in arrears.

Paillaugue converts.

…and then follows that up with his second penalty of the game. Things are not going well for Schmidt’s side but time is their friend. For now.

Montpellier are proving successful with every foray into the Leinster twenty-two. The visitors need better ball retention.

Just as Leinster threaten Nacewa knocks the ball on five metres from the Montpellier line.

Leinster have the ball at the line-out as Montpellier struggle to clear their lines. The ball is being recycled well and this is a good spell from Leinster.

The pattern of the game suggests that, as soon as Leinster start to dominate, Montpellier get the breaks. This is no different as the home side get a penalty at the breakdown and clear their lines.

Francois Trinh-Duc does brilliantly as Montpellier scythe through the midfield. The ball is knocked out but the referee was playing an advantage. An engrossing game, this.

Montpellier are penalised and the champions have a penalty in their own half. They’ll look to clear their lines and re-strategise for the second half.

We have a half-time score of Montpellier 13-6 Leinster. The visitors have had plenty of the play but Montpellier have been the far more incisive outfit.

And we’re back with the second half live…

Eek.. Sean O’Brien goes down injured but quickly gets back up.

Montpellier are penalised at the scrum and Sexton clears. Busy start to the second half.

The fly-half is marshalling things brilliantly for Leinster before Ross and Heaslip drives forwards. However, the move breaks down and Leinster are penalised for holding on.

Substitution for Leinster as Kevin McLaughlin is replaced by Shane Jennings.

Just as Montpellier press again, Leinster get the turnover and counter through Sexton, D’Arcy and Fitzgerald. The move breaks down outside the Montpellier twenty-tw0.

It’s another replacement as Eoin Reddan comes on for Isaac Boss.

Montpellier switch: Paillaugue is taken off and Julien Tomas is brought into play.

Whatever Sexton can do, Trinh-Duc can do better as he kicks Montpellier out of danger brilliantly.

54 minutes into the match and it’s a penalty to Montpellier.

Trinh-Duc, taking over kicking duties, puts ten points in the difference. It’s looking tough for the holders.

Leinster bit back at the restart but Montpellier held firm, and it all results in a penalty at the breakdown for the home side.

Leinster are getting into fine positions but they need a score soon – try as they might, Montpellier are just performing too well at the breakdown.

Sean O’Brien is back on the pitch…

Montpellier drag down the line-0ut and Sexton has a chance with the boot to make it a one-score game.

Gah! He drags it wide. How did he miss that?

But hang on – Leinster are back in this. The ball is spread wide and Leinster newbie Sean Cronin shows great pace with a sensation try. Sexton converts. Game on!

We have a fine ten minutes to come as Leinster’s heckles are raised. They’re European champions for a reason..

Another penalty to Leinster but Cullen and Sexton opt to run it. A massive call…

Leinster edge forward through the pack but time is running out. There are only three minutes left and still three points in it.

Montpellier clear after D’Arcy knocks on. Could that be it?

Hands in the ruck from Montpellier and Sexton has a chance to level it in the dying seconds!

Sexton takes it! Unbelievable fightback from the Heineken Cup holders… The fly-half saves the day but he will rue that earlier missed kick when it looked easier to score.

That’s all folks. The game finishes in a draw and Leinster get out of jail. A great result given the fact that the Irish side trailed for the majority of the match.

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