Worcester open Europe with Montpellier loss

Worcester Warriors opened the European Rugby season with a loss at home at the Sixways Stadium in Worcester with a 17-22 loss to Montpellier in the Amlin Challenge Cup.


The Amlin Challenge Cup is the new name for the European Challenge Cup.


Former runners-up Worcester kicked off their European Challenge Cup campaign with a surprise 22-17 defeat at home to Montpellier on Thursday.


Federico Todeschini kicked 12 points for the French side, who are just 13th in the Top14, with victory in their Pool Two clash at Sixways sealed by Florian Nicot’s second-half interception try.


Having reached the semi-finals of Europe’s second-tier competition last season and finished as runners-up the year before that, Mike Ruddock’s men had hoped to go one step further this time around.


But they now face an uphill struggle after a Montpellier side missing star players Francois Trinh-Duc and Fulgence Ouedraogo inflicted the Warriors’ first home defeat of the season.


Four first-half Todeschini penalties and one from full-back Jaques Schutte gave Montpellier a 15-10 half-time lead, with captain Pat Sanderson’s 40th-minute converted try sparing Worcester an even greater deficit.


The killer blow arrived eight minutes after the interval when Joey Carlisle’s floated pass was picked off by Montpellier centre Nicot on halfway.


Carlisle had been on the pitch for less than two minutes when he made the critical mistake as Worcester attempted to move the ball wide.


Nicot gratefully accepted the gift and raced home unopposed and a successful conversion enabled Montpellier to open up a 22-10 lead with little more than half an hour remaining.


Worcester did hit back four minutes later with a second try from Tom Wood but it was not enough to prevent a disappointing start to their European adventure.


Final Score Worcester Warriors (10) 17 – Montpellier (15) 22


Worcester Warriors
Tries – Sanderson, Powell
Con – Walker 2
Pen – Walker
Drop –

Tries – Nicot
Con – Tomas
Pen – Schutte, Todeschini 4
Drop –

Referee: Carlo Damasco (Italy)


Worcester Warriors: C Latham, M Garvey, R Gear, D Rasmussen, M Benjamin, W Walker, J Arr, M Mullan, A Lutui, S Ruwers, W Bowley, K Kitchener, T Wood, P Sanderson [capt], N Talei

Replacements: J Page, A Black, T Taumoepeau, C Gillies, M Cox, R Powell, J Carlisle, G King

Montpellier: J Schutte, M Dall’inga, O Smith, F Nicot, A Pratmarty, F Todeschini, A Tomas, E Van Staden, M Ladhuie, B Douglas, M Demarco, M Macurdy, V Bost, J Vallée, M Giraud

Replacements: J Caudullo, N Leleimalefaga, D Hancke, M Castell, M Petitdemange, S Max, J Alcalde, K Kervarec

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