Heineken Cup: Bonus-point win for Montpellier over Blues
Last Updated: 15/12/12 9:02pm
Montpellier picked up a bonus-point victory over Heineken Cup Pool 6 rivals Cardiff to keep the pressure on compatriots Toulon.
The French side made it three wins from four in Europe with a 34-21 against the Blues, who remain with just a solitary point.
Sam Warburton went over first for the visitors but Timoci Nagusa, Rassie van Vuuren and Yohan Audrin gave the home side the upper hand with tries.
Alex Cuthbert kept Blues interested with a second-half try but Johnnie Beattie immediately restored the lead and ensured Montpellier the extra point to break Cardiff hearts.
With just four minutes on the clock a five-metre lineout saw hooker Van Vuuren miss his man with the ball falling to Warburton to dive over.
Rhys Patchell was off-target twice in the first 10 minutes and Martin Bustos Moyano responded with his side's first points to bring the hosts within two points.
The 19-year-old fly-half restored the Blues' cushion but Montpellier began to take control of the encounter, and only some superb defence from Cuthbert forced Nagusa to touch down out of play following a sweeping backs move.
But the Fijian quickly got his try, tackled but not held by Gavin Evans allowing him to jump back up to race over.
Bustos Moyano slotted the conversion and the French outfit turned the screw on their rivals, Patchell firing a long-range penalty wide and Nagusa launched a scintillating counter-attack.
The Welsh region hung on following a succession of five-metre scrums but the pressure eventually told, Van Vuuren the beneficiary as he pivoted at the back of a ruck to twist out of Andries Pretorius' tackle to score.
Again Bustos Moyano added the extras to establish a 17-8 lead, which they hung onto at the interval.
Montpellier came out flying in the second half and it took them just one minute to get the scoreboard ticking once again as Audrin eventually pounced through Patchell and Josh Navidi to score.
Blues fought back with Jason Tovey coming close to snatching a try from a superb chip and chase and soon after Cuthbert burst clear, the Wales wing bumping off Santiago Fernandez and racing away in the 51st minute.
Beattie hit back with a fourth try for Montpellier, though, and Bustos Moyano converted before Patchell and Bustos Moyano exchanged further penalties to round off the scoring.