Sale Sharks go down to Montpellier in Heineken Cup

English Premiership strugglers Sale Sharks’ dismal season took a another bad
turn when they lost 6-27 at home to Montpellier in the Heineken Cup.

To put the result into perspective Sale Sharks are bottom of the Premiership
table while Montpellier are just above halfway in the French Top 14 standings.

Montpellier’s hopes of a first Heineken Cup quarter-final appearance remain
very much alive after the victory.

Tries from Yohann Artu, Johnnie Beattie, Pierre Berard and a penalty try sealed
a fine success at the Salford City Stadium as they made it four wins from five
tournament fixtures this term.
The fact that the win was coupled with a try-scoring bonus point means Pool
6 will go down to the wire regardless of the result of tomorrow’s clash between
leaders Toulon and Cardiff Blues.

Prior to referee Leighton Hodges’ decision to award a penalty try with 77 minutes
played, Toulon knew that a maximum-point win over the Blues at the Stade Felix
Mayol would see them secure top spot but that honour could now go to Montpellier
if they can claim a handsome victory over their French rivals next weekend.

Left wing Artu gave Montpellier just the kind of start they were looking for
in the north of England when he crossed after just nine minutes and the visitors
were good value for this convincing win from there on in. Scrum-half Benoit
Paillaugue added the extras to Artu’s effort having missed a fifth-minute penalty
attempt before Danny Cipriani got the Sharks off the mark with 16 minutes gone.

Scotland back rower Beattie gave Montpellier some breathing space when he touched
down for an unconverted score two minutes past the half hour but Cipraini had
the last say of the half with his second penalty after 36 minutes.

Montpellier began the second period in a similar manner to the first, though,
as they added eight points to their tally in as many minutes after the restart.

Paillaugue’s first penalty success on 46 minutes was followed by a try for
full back Berard just two minutes later as Montpellier surged 14 points clear,
although it looked like they would have to settle for just a four-point win
as they failed to trouble the scoreboard again until the dying stages.

Victory was as good as assured a long while from full time but Hodges’ gave
them even more reason to celebrate when he pointed to the posts with just two-and-a-half
minutes remaining.

Man of the match at the Salford City Stadium was won by Montpellier’s John
Beattie.

Final Score Sale Sharks 6 (6) Montpellier 27 (12)

Scorers

Sale Sharks
Penalties: Cipriani 2

Montpellier
Tries: Paillaugue, Beattie, Berard, Penalty
Penalties: Paillaugue
Conversions: Paillaugue, Escande

Match Officials
Referee:
Leighton Hodges (Wal),
Assistant ref: Rhys Thomas (Wal),
Assistant ref: Wayne Davies (Wal),
Citing Commisioner: Gwyn Bowden (Wal)

Teams

Sale Sharks: Cameron Shepherd; Tom Brady, Mark Cueto, Mark
Jennings, Charlie Amesbury; Danny Cipriani, Will Cliff; Aston Croall, Marc Jones,
Vadim Cobilas, Richie Gray, Tom Holmes, James Doyle, David Seymour (c), Josh
Beaumont.

Replacements: Tom Cruse, Ross Harrison, Tony Buckley, Kearnan Myall, Tommy
Taylor, Nathan Fowles, Rob Miller, Jordan Davies.

Montpellier: Pierre Berard; Timoci Nagusa, Thomas Combezou,
Santiago Fernandez, Yohann Artru; Francois Trinh-Duc, Benoit Paillaugue; Mikheil
Nariashvili, Agustin Creevy, Maximiliano Bustos, Mickael De Marco, Aliki Fakate,
Fulgence Ouedraogo (c), Mamuka Gorgodze, John Beattie.

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