Connacht ended a run of five straight defeats as tries from Adrian Flavin (2), Daniel Riordan and Gavin Williams saw them to a 26-13 Challenge Cup victory over Montpellier.
CHALLENGE CUP: POOL 4: Friday, December 8
CONNACHT 26 MONTPELLIER 13, The Sportsground (Att: 1,032)
Scorers: Connacht: Tries: Adrian Flavin 2, Daniel Riordan, Gavin Williams; Cons: David Slemen 2, Mark McHugh
Montpellier: Try: Francois Trinh Duc; Con: Regis Lespinas; Pens: Lespinas 2
After losing tight games to both NEC Harlequins and Bath in October, Connacht got their Pool 4 campaign in the Challenge Cup back on track with a well-deserved bonus point win.
This four-try success certainly looked on the cards when hooker Adrian Flavin piled over for two tries in the space of eight first half minutes, both set up by lineout drives. In between, the visitors lost their out-half Francois Trinh Duc to a yellow card.
However, the French side dug deep and despite leaking a try to Connacht full-back Daniel Riordan - his second of the competition was set up by a brilliant Paul Warwick break - they fought back with Trinh Duc going over early in the second half.
For his try Riordan was up well in support, taking the pass from Warwick in the visitors' 22 after the Australian had cut through from deep in the Connacht half, beating off three would-be tacklers.
In wintry weather conditions, the second half was a poor affair with only centre Gavin Williams' 61st-minute try one of few highlights. Williams sped through a gap and used his brute strength to crash over for the bonus point score.
The sides meet again next Friday at Stade Sabathe (kick-off 6.30pm Irish time).
...Connacht try scorer Gavin Williams on the charge...
TIME LINE: 20 minutes - Connacht try: Adrian Flavin - 5-0; conversion: David Slemen - 7-0; 25 mins - Montpellier yellow card: Francois Trinh Duc; 28 mins - Connacht try: Adrian Flavin - 12-0; conversion: missed by David Slemen; 32 mins - Connacht try: Daniel Riordan - 17-0; conversion: David Slemen - 19-0; 39 mins - Montpellier penalty: Regis Lespinas - 19-3; 40+2 mins - Montpellier penalty: Regis Lespinas - 19-6; Half-time - Connacht 19 Montpellier 6; 42 mins - Montpellier try: Francois Trinh Duc - 19-11; conversion: Regis Lespinas - 19-13; 61 mins - Connacht try: Gavin Williams - 24-13; conversion: Mark McHugh - 26-13; Full-time - Connacht 26 Montpellier 13
Connacht: Daniel Riordan; Keith Matthews, Paul Warwick, Gavin Williams, Ted Robinson; David Slemen, Conor O'Loughlin; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Stephen Knoop, David Gannon, Andrew Farley (capt), Michael Swift, Ray Ofisa, John Muldoon.
Replacements used: Mark McHugh for Slemen, Chris Keane for O'Loughlin (both 60 mins), John Hearty for Warwick (67), Colm Rigney for Swift (70), Brett Sturgess for Knoop (80+2). Not used: Brendan O'Connor.
Montpellier: Olivier Sarramea; Jacques Boussuge, Regis Lespinas, Harley Crane, Aliinu'u Koko; Francois Trinh Duc, Julien Thomas; Nicolas Descamps, Joan Caudullo, Anthony Vigna, Goncalo Uva, Michel Macurdy, Martin Durand, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Jharay Russell.
Replacements used: Philemon Toleafoa for Descamps (half-time), Drickus Hancke for Macurdy (51 mins), Cedric Mathieu for Russell (56), Nicolas Grelon for Caudullo, Jean-Matthieu Alcalde for Koko (both 60), Sebastien Logerot for Sarramea (68) Murphy Taele for Trinh Duc (75).
Referee: Sean Davey (England)