European Champions Cup: Montpellier 45-8 Newcastle Falcons

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European Champions Cup: Montpellier 45-8 Newcastle Falcons
South-African born lock Paul Willemse was called up to France’s Six Nations squad on Thursday
European Champions Cup – Pool Five
Montpellier (12) 45
Tries: Nagusa, Reilhac, Willemse, Immelman 2, Janse van Rensburg, Ruffenach Cons: Pienaar 4, Paillaugue
Newcastle (3) 8
Try: Kibirige Pen: Flood

Newcastle are out of the Champions Cup after losing to Montpellier – their sixth successive defeat in all competitions.

Montpellier claimed a bonus point after scoring seven tries, while Zach Kibirige crossed for Newcastle’s only try.

Falcons, currently bottom of the Premiership table, will finish no higher than third in Pool Five.

Montpellier are top of the pool and face second-placed Edinburgh on Friday.

Pool Five
Played Won Points
1. Montpellier 5 3 16
2. Edinburgh 4 3 15
3. Newcastle 5 2 8
4. Toulon 4 1 6

Newcastle’s struggles continue

Playing a French side away is never easy, but this defeat is a further blow to Newcastle’s confidence.

Dean Richards’ side’s last win was against Northampton at the beginning of December and the return of fly-half Toby Flood was not enough to turn their fortunes around.

Both teams struggled in the first 10 minutes, with players slipping as a result of the poor pitch and bright sunshine making life difficult under the high ball.

But after a break from former South Africa fly-half Johan Goosen, Montpellier worked enough space to send wing Timoci Nagusa in to score.

Newcastle then rallied defensively despite Montpellier working through phases five metres from the tryline, but Goosen eventually sent centre Yvan Reilhac over.

The momentum shifted further from Falcons after half-time as substitute lock Paul Willemse, called up this week to France’s Six Nations squad, barrelled over for Montpellier’s third try.

Wing Henry Immelman scored twice to maintain his record of crossing in every Champions Cup game in which he has appeared this season and Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Romain Ruffenach added to Newcastle’s misery.

Kibirige chased a chip through to claim a try for Falcons, who face Toulon in the final round of the pool stage.

Montpellier will qualify for the quarter-finals if they defeat Edinburgh, but could still qualify as runners-up if they lose.

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