Despite losing 19-14 on Friday at Stade Sabathe, Connacht booked a Challenge Cup quarter final date with Dean Richards’ Grenoble side next month, having overcome Montpellier 70-22 on aggregate.
Despite losing 19-14 on Friday, Connacht booked a Challenge Cup quarter final date with Dean Richards’ Grenoble side next month, having overcome Montpellier 70-22 on aggregate.
Challenge Cup: Second round, second leg:
Montpellier 19 (22) Connacht 14 (70)
Scorers: Connacht: Try: Warwick; Pens: Warwick, Elwood 2
Michael Bradley’s side survived the second half sin-binning of scrum-half Chris Keane to predictably progress – with fly-half duo Paul Warwick and Eric Elwood splitting the scores.
Montpellier, who also had scrum-half Sebastien Buada, number eight Louis Picamolles and lock Samuel Nouchi yellow-carded in the second 40, scored a marvellous try after 22 minutes, when a lightning break by full-back Frederic Benazech set up the maul for hooker Olivier Diomande to be driven over.
Winger David Bortolussi added the conversion and swapped penalties on the half-hour with Warwick, before the Australian grabbed an intercept try.
With five minutes remaining in the half, 23-year-old Warwick blazed over having charged down Bertrand Guilloux’s attempted clearance kick from 40 metres out.
Bortolussi’s second penalty left the French hosts 16-8 in front at the break and the westerners’ first leg 56-3 lead was never in danger.
Despite Keane and opposite number Buada being yellow carded on 50 minutes, the game never went out of Connacht’s reach.
Bortolussi notched another penalty on 56 minutes, but veteran Elwood – making his 165th appearance – kicked two clear-cut penalties to send Connacht through to the last eight for the third year in-a-row.
Elwood’s two penalties took his provincial tally up to an incredible 1272 points.
(15) Matt Mostyn
(14) Ted Robinson
(13) Paul Warwick
(12) James Downey
(11) Conor McPhillips
(10) Eric Elwood
(9) Chris Keane
(1) Ray Hogan
(2) Bernard Jackman
(3) Stephen Knoop
(4) Pieter Myburgh
(5) Andrew Farley (Capt)
(6) Michael Swift
(7) John Muldoon
(8) John O’Sullivan
Replacements used: Brendan O’Connor for Swift (half-time), Conor O’Loughlin for Warwick (52 mins), Dan McFarland for Hogan (55), John Fogarty for Jackman, Christian Short for Myburgh (both 58), Michael Walls for O’Loughlin (60), Peter Bracken for McFarland (64).