Belfast Telegraph

Connacht announce return in style

Connacht 23-20 Montpellier

Caolin Blade
Caolin Blade

Connacht marked their return to Heineken Champions Cup rugby in memorable style with a terrific 23-20 victory over Montpellier at the Sportsground.

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Tries from Paul Boyle, stand-in captain Tom McCartney and Caolin Blade, with the rest of the points kicked by Jack Carty and Conor Fitzgerald, saw the westerners prevail in their first European top tier game in three seasons.

Montpellier scored through Aaron Cruden and Anthony Bouthier, while Benoit Paillaugue added two penalties.

Montpellier showed their running prowess as Jan Serfontein and Caleb Timu made inroads. The ball was worked to winger Yvan Reilhac and he found Cruden to run in the opening try. Paillaugue converted.

Carty responded with a penalty and Montpellier hit back with a Paillaugue three-pointer.

Connacht continued to grow and blindside Boyle crashed over. They crossed again when McCartney touched down at the tail of a rolling maul.

Paillaugue punished a Connacht offside to tie things up in the second period. The westerners regained the lead when scrum-half Blade ran in for a try which Carty converted.

Bouthier sped through to score in the 62nd minute, with Paillaugue nailing the conversion for 20-20. However, Fitzgerald coolly kicked a winning penalty.

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