Montpellier 21-15 Edinburgh: Richard Cockerill's side denied opening win
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 13/10/18 6:16pm
Referee Wayne Barnes ruled out two tries for Edinburgh who fell agonisingly short of scoring a famous Champions Cup victory over Montpellier in France.
Montpellier, manged by the former Scottish national coach Vern Cotter, scored three first-half tries on the way to a 21-15 victory, but it was Richard Cockerill's Edinburgh who dominated the final 40 minutes.
Edinburgh crossed for a try in each half and would have won the game had Barnes not ruled out a Hamish Watson try for offside and another by Magnus Bradbury for obstruction.
In the end, they had to settle for a losing bonus-point, although they had to scramble to keep hold of it after home skipper Louis Picamoles intercepted 30 metres out and almost reached the line for what would have been an extra point for the hosts.
Montpellier, currently sitting fourth in the French Top 14, tried to get their power game into action from the start by kicking penalties into the opposition 22 to set up driving mauls.
After a period of pressure, a kick to the corner took them to within 15 metres before a line-out drive took them up to the line. The ball was then spread wide and Ruan Pienaar cut inside before popping the ball to full-back Henry Immelman to finish.
Pienaar, who started at fly-half, added the conversion. But midway through the half, Edinburgh hit back with a try of their own. It started with a brilliant offload by Fijian number eight Vili Mata and scrum-half Henry Pyrgos got to within inches.
But when he was hauled down just short, Stuart McInally was on hand to scoop up the loose ball and cross for a try that Simon Hickey converted. That try showed what the visitors could do, although it was two tries in four minutes from
Montpellier that turned the game in their favour.
The first went to Benjamin Fall, as he powered through Blair Kinghorn to score from 30 metres, while the second came from a turnover in their own 22, which was converted into a try at the other end by flying wing Gabriel N'Gandebe after he gathered a kick from Pienaar.
Hickey cut the gap on the stroke of half-time with a penalty and whatever Cockerill said to his troops at the break, it obviously hit home. Edinburgh totally dominated the second half and stopped the home side from adding to their
After Watson's try had been ruled out and with Bismarck du Plessis in the sin-bin, Dougie Fyfe crossed just short of the hour mark to make it a one score game. The wing went over in the left corner after a brilliant bust by Ben Toolis and a wonderful offload by Mata.
Had replacement prop Simon Berghan not collided with Bradbury two metres out from the line, and obstructed a tackler in the process, Edinburgh might well have gone home with the win.