Last Updated: 12/01/19 4:23pm
Newcastle’s Heineken Champions Cup hopes came to an end as they were hammered 45-8 by Montpellier.
The French side made 10 changes, but they were still too good for Dean Richards’ men as they scored seven tries in a comfortable win. Newcastle’s only points came from a Toby Flood penalty and a late Zach Kibirige try.
Montpellier crossed through Timoci Nagusa and Yvan Reilhac before the break and they cut loose in the second period. Henry Immelman added a brace of tries and further scores came from Paul Willemse, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Romain Ruffenach.
Both teams were keen to run the ball in a frenetic opening, but it was scrappy, error-strewn stuff, with Montpellier captain Louis Picamoles summing that up by delivering one monstrous carry and then turning the ball over.
Montpellier finally converted their pressure into points as Johan Goosen’s electric break saw him get on the outside of Glen Young and the fly-half freed his hands to give Nagusa an easy finish.
Ruan Pienaar couldn’t convert and Newcastle hit back with a penalty from Flood on their first real visit to the Montpellier 22.
After turning down kickable penalties in favour of their strong set-piece, Montpellier then added their second try. The forwards did the hard work and the ball was spread right by Goosen, where Reilhac spotted a gap and made his way to the line. This time Pienaar kicked the goal.
A neat lineout move saw Newcastle come close to a try before the break, but they were turned over inches from the opposition line as they went in 12-3 down.
Montpellier unloaded their bench early in the second half and one of their substitutes – recent France Six Nations call-up Willemse – had an immediate impact.
The giant forward crashed over for Montpellier’s third try. Pienaar converted and his team began to chase the bonus-point score – which soon arrived.
From a powerful scrum, simple hands down the short side from Pienaar and Jan Serfontein fed Immelman, who had a simple finish in the corner. Pienaar rubbed salt in the wound with a touchline conversion and the floodgates opened.
Van Rensburg smashed onto a Pienaar pass and through a Flood tackle to score and the kick was added once again by the try’s creator.
Montpellier’s replacement hooker Ruffenach was yellow-carded for not releasing a Newcastle tackler, but it failed to stop Immelman adding his second when he intercepted a Vereniki Goneva pass for a simple finish. This time Goosen converted.
There was still time for one more Montpellier try, a forward rumble ending in the returning Ruffenach burrowing over. Kibirige grabbed a Newcastle consolation, but it was a day to forget for the Falcons.