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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 10 July, 2020


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Good afternoon and welcome along to the first of two Champions Cup liveblogs as we bring you live coverage of Leinster and Connacht in European action.

Later, Pat Lam’s side are in Italy to face Zebre but our attention is on the eastern province and their Pool 4 clash with Montpellier.

Ryan Bailey here back at base to guide you through all the action while Sean Farrell is in position at the Altrad Stadium ahead of kick-off at 1pm.

If you want to join in, tweet us: @rugby_ie and @The42_ie, e-mail or post your thoughts in the comments section below.

Conditions may not be ideal but both sides are brimming with international quality and there are so many intriguing match-ups across the park. This is how the teams will line-out, with Leinster forced into a change yesterday with Mike McCarthy ruled out through illness.

Montpellier’s captain Akapusi Qera with referee Luke Pearse and Leinster’s captain Isa Nacewa at the coin toss Montpellier’s captain Akapusi Qera with referee Luke Pearse and Leinster’s captain Isa Nacewa at the coin toss. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland


15. Joffrey Michel
14. Marvin O’Connor
13. Vincent Martin
12. Alexandre Dumoulin
11. Nemani Nadolo
10. Frans Steyn
9. Nic White

1. Yvan Watremez
2. Shalva Mamukashvili
3. Jannie Du Plessis
4. Jacques Du Plessis
5. Paul Willemse
6. Fulgence Ouedraogo
7. Akapusi Qera
8. Pierre Spies


16. Romain Ruffenach
17. Mikheil Nariashvili
18. Davit Kubriashvili
19. Nicholaas Van Rensburg
20. Wiaan Liebenberg
21. Tomas O’Leary
22. Ben Botica
23. Jesse Mogg


15. Rob Kearney
14. Zane Kirchner
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Isa Nacewa (C)
10. Jonathan Sexton
9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy
2. James Tracy
3. Mike Ross
4. Devin Toner
5. Mick Kearney
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jamie Heaslip


16. Sean Cronin
17. Jack McGrath
18. Michael Bent
19. Ian Nagle
20. Jordi Murphy
21. Dan Leavy
22. Jamison Gibson-Park
23. Joey Carbery

The Altrad Stadium with match balls before the match Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip arrives for the match Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Leinster’s Sean O'Brien arrives for the match Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Leinster are in the middle of a five-game winning run but victory today would certainly be the most impressive of the season. Leo Cullen is fully aware of the task ahead of his side this afternoon.

“Across the board, they’re a team with a huge amount of resources so they’ve gone out and they’re buying international players from the top shelf so there’s no shortage of quality there,” Cullen said of Montpellier.

Montpellier team warm up Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Francois Steyn we would be a little bit aware of, he played for Racing Metro a few years ago in the RDS. A player we’ve seen with a huge amount of experience. Nadolo on the wing obviously for Fiji.

“They’ve got a lot of quality up front with a physical front five. Paul Willemse, du Plessis in the second row has really strong carries for them. We’ve had prep this week and I think we’re up to the challenge.”

Our full match preview is here.

The locals haven’t braved the conditions with 15,000-capacity Altrad Stadium less than half full with just minutes until kick-off. Leinster have absolutely nothing to fear here.


First scrum of the day as Devin Toner knocks on.


Good start from Leinster at the set-piece as the referee orders a reset. A huge psychological boost their for the pack.


Bright start from the home side, nonetheless, as they get their first opportunity to work it through the hands. Leinster stand firm and a huge hit from Zan Kirchner forces the error.


Conditions will make handling tricky and already the pitch is cutting up from under the scrum.


Leinster penalty and Sexton kicks to the corner after nice work from Tracy and Toner. The hooker then finds his man from the line-out and the visitors have the platform, before Heaslip can’t gather the pass and the move breaks down.


Despite the conditions, the opening exchanges have been played at a furious rate. Sean O’Brien, among others, is already blowing hard as possession changes hands at regular intervals.

Good defensive work from Leinster so far and they win the penalty inside their own 22, which Sexton kicks to halfway.


A couple of big hits already being shipped out there but Montpellier, to their credit, are also trying to throw it out wide. So far, Leinster dealing with everything that is being thrown at them.


Wave after wave of Montpellier attack but Leinster are frustrating them with good line speed and stellar defensive work. Again, the error is forced with a knock on in contact giving Leinster the scrum.

We’re still scoreless after 17 minutes.


Zane Kirchner puts in a big hit on Francois Steyn.

Montpellier’s Frans Steyn Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland


Montpellier force the penalty but Steyn’s kick comes back off the post. Leinster have survived the early onslaught.


More great work at the breakdown from Leinster as Ouedraogo holds on under pressure from O’Brien. Sexton kicks for territory and finds touch on this near side.


Sexton grubbers through but Montpellier have cover with Joffrey Michel across the dive on the loose ball. The hosts clear their lines and Leinster look to come again through a rolling maul.

Flag 27Mins

PENALTY! Montpellier 0-3 Leinster (Nacewa)

Leinster win the penalty and Nacewa, just like he did last week, calls for the tee. The captain strikes it sweetly and the visitors register the first points of the day.


TRY! Montpellier 7-3 Leinster (Martin)

Healy loses the ball in contact and Martin collects the loose ball in midfield and finds himself one-on-one with Mike Ross to speed home and dot down.


Leo Cullen and his players will be disappointed with that try, with Ross exposed against the speedy Martin. It was very, very soft.

Flag 36Mins

TRY! Montpellier 14-5 Leinster (Nadolo)

Devastating from Montpellier and Nadolo as they score their second try in quick succession. After the forwards do the hard work on the right, it’s spread wide and Nadolo has the space to bounce off Kearney and McGrath and touch down in the corner.

For large parts of that half, Leinster stood firm in the face of a physical and powerful Montpellier onslaught but they were undone by two soft tries. A big 15 minutes coming up for Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster now.

Flag 40Mins

Back underway in the south of France! Two changes for Leinster at the break with Sexton and O’Brien replaced by Joey Carbery and Jordi Murphy.


Bright start to the second period for Leinster with Carbery involved straight away but Montpellier win the penalty and the move breaks down. The visitors need the first score of this half.


Concern for Mick Kearney as he stays down after making a big hit. The medics are on and treating the second-row but it appears to be a head injury. Pierre Spies also requires some treatment.


Kearney has gone off for a HIA with Ian Nagle on in his place. Spies has continued with a Montpellier scrum to restart proceedings.


And Montpellier are awarded the penalty after Leinster are penalised at scrum time. Steyn lining this one up.

Flag 45Mins

PENALTY! Montpellier 17-3 Leinster (Steyn)

And he makes no mistake from the tee. The Springbok extends Montpellier’s lead.


Another double change for Leinster as Sean Cronin and Jack McGrath come in for Tracy and Cian Healy.


Carbery is welcomed to the party with a big hit but he’s back on his feet and the momentum is sucked from Leinster’s move after another handling error.


Leinster are doing good work with ball in hand for the most part but basic errors just letting them down at the moment. The province win a penalty on halfway and they’ve another promising attacking platform here.


Jannie du Plessis arguing against need for a HIA but the medics ensure that common sense prevails as he trudges down the tunnel after a heavy collision with Jack McGrath.


Montpellier are penalised for being offside and now Nacewa has the chance to reduce the deficit from tee.


Penalty! Montpellier 17-6 Leinster (Nacewa)

Nacewa strikes it sweetly and Leinster have their first score of the half. From the restart, Ringrose finds a brilliant touch with a huge kick.


Poor couple of minutes for Steyn. He fails to find touch with a penalty and then when he kicks it out on the full to give Leinster a reprieve.


Michel kicks ahead and is body-checked by Kearney. The full-back stays down and the referee is going upstairs to have a look.


Penalty and yellow card! Kearney is sent to the bin and Leinster are really up against it now.


That appears to be a very harsh call from Luke Pearce. Kearney is within his right to stand his ground. Montpellier go for the corner.


Leinster are under the cosh here but they hold firm and win the turnover on their own line.

Flag 60Mins

TRY! Montpellier 22-6 Leinster (Nadolo)

Intercept try and that appears to be game over! Heaslip wheels away from the back of the scrum and tries to offload to Kirchner but is caught out and the winger has the simple task of running it in.


That just about sums up Leinster’s afternoon. Michael Bent is on for Mike Ross and Jamison Gibson-Park is also preparing to come on.


Penalty! Montpellier 22-9 Leinster (Nacewa)

Instant reply from the visitors but they’ll need more than penalties from here on. Another solid strike from Nacewa.


A moment of magic from Ringrose as he dances through. Stunning footwork from the young centre but then Jordi Murphy can’t keep hold of Gibson-Park’s pass. Frustrating.


Leinster back to their full complement with Kearney returning to the action. 12 minutes remaining.


Leinster pressing for that try but after some encouraging build-up work, Cronin throws it wide and it goes out of play. Mesmerising footwork from Ringrose again.


So close for Leinster! Missed opportunity as Leavy is forced backwards on the line and they can’t quite force their way over at the death.


Nadolo, unsurprisingly, named man of the match.

Montpellier’s Nemani Nadolo  is tackled by Leinster’s Garry Ringrose  and Zane Kirchner Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland


Tomas O’Leary is on for Montpellier.


One last chance for Leinster to snatch a losing bonus point.

Flag 80Mins

TRY! Montpellier 22-14 Leinster (Nacewa)

Patience pays off as Nacewa goes over in the corner. Big kick coming up.


FT: Montpellier 22-16 Leinster

Nacewa nails it and Leinster snatch a losing bonus point right at the death!

Smash and grab at the end from Leinster but they’ll be delighted with a point all things considered. A valuable losing bonus point from their trip to Montpellier.

About the author:

Ryan Bailey