Heineken Cup: Montpellier beat Sharks to keep pressure on Toulon
Last Updated: 11/01/13 10:22pm
Johnnie Beattie of Montpellier on his way to scoring a try
Montpellier kept their hopes of a place in the last eight of the Heineken Cup alive with a 27-6 bonus-point win over struggling Sale at the City of Salford Stadium
Sale, whose quarter-final ambitions were sunk in December by back-to-back defeats to Toulon, gave a debut to number eight Josh Beaumont, the 20-year-old son of former England captain Bill Beaumont, but he endured a tough time against man-of-the-match Johnnie Beattie.
Dominant in the set piece and sharper on attack, Fabien Galthie's men would have enjoyed an even greater margin of victory but for some slipshod handling in the bitterly cold conditions and an off-day with the boot by Benoit Paillaugue, who succeeded with just two of his five goal attempts.
However, the bonus point enabled them to draw level with Toulon, who play Cardiff on Saturday before hosting their pool six rivals at Stade Yves du Manoir in their final match next Saturday.
The match began in predictable fashion when an incisive break by full-back Pierre Berard was supported by skipper Fulgence Ouedraogo, who sent winger Yohann Artru over by the posts for the game's opening try on nine minutes.
Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani pulled three points back with an 18th-minute penalty but the French side added a second try seven minutes before the break when Scotland international Beattie picked up a loose ball to charge over.
Paillaugue was off target with his conversion attempt and Cipriani cut the deficit to 12-6 with a second penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Paillaugue then stretched his side's lead with a 47th-minute penalty, and the game was effectively over as a contest two minutes later when dangerous centre Thomas Combezou sliced through the heart of the Sharks defence and the supporting Timoci Nagusa sent Berard over for a third try.
It was all Montpellier in the final quarter and centre Santiago Fernandez had a chance to secure the bonus point but he dropped Nagusa's pass on the line, while the impressive Beattie was twice held up over the line.
The pressure finally told two minutes from the end when the Sale pack crumbled once too often and referee Leighton Hodges awarded Montpellier a penalty try, which replacement Eric Escande converted.
Heineken Cup week five 2012/13
Fly-half Ronan O'Gara has been cited for allegedly kicking Edinburgh's Sean Cox during Munster's 26-17 win on Sunday.
Take a look back at the best tries from this weekend's Heineken Cup action.
Richard Cockerill predicted a Heineken Cup "classic" when Leicester and Toulouse go head to head at Welford Road.
- Heineken hopes
- Toulouse too good for Treviso
- Leicester set up grand finale
- Penney: We had to make sure
- Munster stay in the hunt
- Schmidt not happy despite win
- Maturing Saracens satisfy boss
- Heineken Cup exit for Exeter
- Bonus keeps Leinster alive
- Fiddes' Cent
- Toulon progress pleases Jonny
- Farrell stars in Sarries win
- Harlequins earn O'Shea praise
- Biarritz ease past Zebre
- Five from five for Harlequins
- Toulon power past Blues
- Heineken Cup views
- Diamond upbeat despite loss
- Anscombe joy at qualification
- Mallinder relieved after win
- Ulster through to last eight