Bath hold on to beat Montpellier in Heineken Cup

Bath held out to beat rookies Montpellier 16-13 in Pool 3 of the Heineken Cup at The Recreation Ground on Sunday afternoon.


It didn’t take long for New Zealand’s World Cup hero Stephen Donald to make himself feel at home at The Recreation Ground where he guided his new team Bath to a win on his home debut.


The man whose penalty kick earned the All Blacks the world title against France earlier in the season found himself facing up to the his opponent from that great day at Auckland’s Eden Park, Francois Trinh-Duc, and once again he got the better of him.


Having seen his new team mates lose a grip of their opening Pool 3 game in the dying moments in Glasgow last week, Donald ensured they got off to a flying start this time.


He kicked a penalty after four minutes and then threw a long, cut out pass to Olly Woodburn to allow the wing to run in at the right corner.


And the former Chiefs star wasn’t finished yet. He intercepted a Trinh-Duc pass in his own 22, raced to within five metres of the line and then got up from the ruck in time to see prop David Flatman crossing for a second home try.


If it was bad enough to see the scoreboard showing them 13 points adrift in 18 minutes, Montpellier, who saw Jonny Sexton land a last gasp penalty to snatch a draw for Leinster in their opening Heineken Cup match the previous weekend, lost Trinh-Duc for 10 minutes after the try.


Irish referee Alain Rolland ruled he had tried to slow down the ruck ball after the Donald interception and he got a yellow card for his efforts.


That shocked last season’s French Championship finalists into sterner action and they only conceded one more score after that. Their revival was begun by a Martin Bustos Moyano penalty from half-way, that made it 13-3 at the break, and then he crossed for a try that he also converted.


The crowd howled their disapproval of that score after TV replays in the ground showed Thibault Privat’s final pass was forward.


But that try made it 16-10, Donald having added a penalty three minutes into the second half, and another Bustos Moyano kick on 53 minutes set up a pulsating final quarter.


Montpellier pressed hard, and their strong pack made a major impact at scrum time, but they couldn’t find a way to bridge the gap and ended just short.


A losing bonus point was their only consolation.


Final Score Bath 16 (13) Montpellier 13 (3)


Scorers


Bath
Tries: Woodburn, Flatman
Penalties: Donald 2


Montpellier
Tries: Bustos Moyana
Penalties: Bustos Moyana 2
Conversions: Bustos Moyana


Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)


Teams


Bath Rugby: N Abendanon; O Woodburn, D Hipkiss, S Vesty, T Biggs; S Donald, M Claassens; D Flatman, R Batty, D Wilson, S Hooper [capt], R Caldwell, F Louw, L Moody, S Taylor


Replacements: M Lilley, C Beech, A Perenise, D Attwood, G Mercer, M McMillan, O Barkley, J Cuthbert


Montpellier: L Amorosino; M Bustos Moyano, G Doumayrou, P Bosch, J Peyras Loustalet; F Trinh-Duc, J Tomas; M Nariashvili, A Creevy, M Bustos, J Tuineau, T Privat, R Martin, F Ouedraogo [capt], M Gorgodze


Replacements: R van Vuuren, N Leleimalefaga, G Jgenti, D Hancke, M Matadigo, B Paillaugue, S Fernandez, Y Audrin


With thanks to ERCRugby.

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