Kelian Galletier touched down twice as Montpellier kept their European Champions Cup hopes alive following an impressive 29-22 victory over the Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.
The Warriors have a perfect record in the Guinness PRO14 but they have been far less assured in Europe’s top-tier competition and this defeat continued their disappointing run.
Vern Cotter’s team came to move the ball and they delivered, scoring four tries in all via Galletier, Jacques du Plessis and a penalty try.
Although Leonardo Sarto (twice) and George Turner crossed the whitewash for Glasgow, the French outfit ultimately had too much quality for the hosts.
After a disappointing start to the game, where there were far more spills than thrills, the encounter burst into life. Finn Russell opened the scoring from the tee before Aaron Cruden showed his class, scything through a hole and throwing a perfectly weighted pass to Galletier.
The flanker still had plenty of work to do but he finished with aplomb, holding off two attempted tackles and touching down out wide.
Sarto responded for the Scottish team, taking a nice line off the shoulder of scrum-half Ali Price, before Turner increased their buffer by benefiting from Russell’s good work to score.
Dave Rennie’s side were in control but then came the turning point in the contest. With the hosts under no pressure, Turner needlessly took Louis Picamoles off the ball and he was yellow carded as a result.
With their opponents down to 14 men, the visitors profited. Firstly, Galletier spotted a gap in the Warriors’ defence to reduce the arrears before their maul surged towards the line. Jonny Gray, who felt that he had little option, took down the drive and referee Matthew Carley duly sin-binned the lock and awarded a penalty try.
Montpellier took that momentum into the second period and within seven minutes of the restart they had gained the bonus-point.
Cotter’s men are a difficult team to stop when they are on the front foot and du Plessis rewarded their physicality by going over from close range.
It was now a long way back for the Warriors, particularly with the Top 14 club hitting their stride, but they displayed commendable resilience to fight back.
They constructed a wonderful try, which ended in Sarto touching down after Russell, Ruaridh Jackson and Huw Jones had combined.
However, Montpellier always seemed to have the edge after the opening quarter and Frans Steyn’s penalty meant that they secured the win and moved level on points with Exeter Chiefs in Pool 3.
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Sarto 2, Turner
Cons: Russell 2
Yellow Cards: Turner, Gray
Tries: Galletier 2, penalty try, J. du Plessis
Cons: Steyn 2