Leinster made a solid start to their Champions Cup campaign when they secured a 24-17 victory over Montpellier in Dublin on Saturday.
The three-time champions were in control of proceedings for large periods and held a slender 12-7 lead at half-time. The Irish province eventually outscored their visitors four tries to two and although Montpellier were competitive throughout, they had to settle with a losing bonus-point.
The opening quarter was a cagey affair although Montpellier had a chance to open the scoring in the 14th minute when Tadhg Furlong was penalised for illegal scrummaging but Ruan Pienaar’s shot at goal was off target.
Leinster opened the scoring three minutes later courtesy of a well-worked try from Joey Carbery. Leinster’s forwards initially set up a couple of phases inside Montpellier’s 22 before striking out wide with their backs. Carbery joined the line at pace and gathered a long pass from Ross Byrne before gliding through a gap in Leinster’s defence to cross over in the right-hand corner.
The home side continued to attack and were rewarded in the 27th minute when Josh van der Flier showed great determination to burst through a tackle before dotting down on the whitewash.
The next 10 minutes was evenly contested but Montpellier opened their account in the 38th minute when Nemani Nadolo pounced on a loose ball deep inside Leinster’s half before crossing for his side’s opening try which Ruan Pienaar converted.
Leinster made a terrific start to the second half and extended their lead two minutes after the restart when Robbie Henshaw crossed the whitewash after Jesse Mogg failed to deal with a high ball deep inside his 22.
Both sides continued to attack during the next 20 minutes and it was Montpellier who were rewarded when Nadolo shrugged off a couple of defenders before powering over the whitewash for his second try.
Leinster did not panic though and secured their try-scoring bonus point in the 66th minute when Barry Daly went over in the left-hand corner after fine interplay between Henshaw and Carbery in the build-up.
Eight minutes before the end, Pienaar made sure of his side’s bonus point when he added a penalty after Leinster’s forwards went off their feet at a ruck.
There were some nervous moments for the hosts as they finished the match with 14 men after Adam Byrne was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on in the 74th minute, but they did enough to hold on for a deserved win.
Tries: Carbery, Van dr Flier, Henshaw, Daly
Cons: Nacewa, R Byrne
Yellow Card: A Byrne
Tries: Nadolo 2
Cons: Pienaar 2