Paillaugue stars as Montpellier stay in hunt
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Benoit Paillaugue kept Montpellier afloat in the European Champions Cup with a match-winning performance in a 36-26 victory over Glasgow on Saturday.
The bonus-point victory moved the French Top 14 outfit to a point off Pool Three leaders Leinster ahead of the Irish team's clash with Exeter later on Saturday.
Scrumhalf Paillaugue scored the crucial bonus point fourth try and kicked four conversions while monstrous Fijian wing Nemani Nadolo scored a try and had a crucial hand in two others as Montpellier hit back from a blistering Glasgow start that saw the visitors score three tries in the opening 20 minutes.
But having lost a fourth game in a row in this competition, Glasgow remain rooted to the bottom of Pool Three, although in truth they dominated this match.
Glasgow's Fraser Brown charged down a Jesse Mogg clearing kick and dived on the ball over the Montpellier line to open the scoring after just two minutes.
Montpellier relied on power to get a hold of the game and the bullocking Nadolo set free Jan Serfontein to take the ball close to the line. The Fijian followed up to scoop the ball into his giant hands and bundle over the line.
The fast and free-flowing start to the game continued as Glasgow twice came close to scoring, only to be thwarted by forward passes close to the tryline.
Glasgow did score when Matthew Smith stripped the ball from Francois Steyn and Peter Horne ran through a gaping gap to score.
Montpellier then kicked a penalty to the corner and got the rumble on before Romain Ruffenach barged over and twisted in the tackle to stretch out an arm and dot down.
Yet back came Glasgow as Lee Jones collected a Horne chip on the left wing and made ground before the Scots recycled quick ball and Nick Grigg burrowed over from close range.
Horne missed the conversion but Glasgow, who were playing with the abandon of a team with nothing to lose, led 19-12 after 20 minutes.
The players on both sides were enjoying themselves so much that neither team wanted the half to end and it went on for three minutes beyond the 40 before a Montpellier knock-on brought a return to the changing rooms.
Montpellier went in front for the first time in controversial circumstances after getting away with a knock-on at a line-out in their own 22.
Nadolo charged 80 metres up the left wing and although Ali Price dragged the Fijian down just short of the line, the hosts exploited an overlap on the right for Henry Immelman to score.
Benoit Paillaugue converted and a couple of minutes later was on hand to score in the corner after Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg charged down a Price clearance.
After brilliant breakdown work from Steyn in the Montpellier 22, another Nadolo surge down the left ended with Immelman scoring his second, but New Zealand international flyhalf Aaron Cruden was injured in the build up.
Glasgow scored a consolation bonus-point try their dominance of territory and possession deserved after another rapier move ended with Horne galloping through to score by the posts.
There was only a converted try in it but after Paillaugue had missed a penalty Steyn landed one two minutes from time to seal the win.
Tries: Nadolo, Ruffenach, Immelman 2, Paillaugue
Cons: Paillaugue 4
Tries: Brown, P Horne, Grigg, G Horne
Cons: P Horne 2, Russell
Yellow Card: Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors); Bismarck du Plessis (Montpellier)
Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Gabriel N'gandebe, 13 Frans Steyn, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Kelian Galletier, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Nicholaas van Rensburg, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Grégory Fichten.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 Mohamed Haouas, 19 Julien Delannoy, 20 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 21 Enzo Sanga, 22 Henry Immelman, 23 Timoci Nagusa.
Glasgow: 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Ali Price, 8 Samu Vunisa, 7 Matt Smith, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Kiran McDonald, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 George Horne, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Niko Matawalu.
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England), Simon McConnell (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)