European Champions Cup: Glasgow 21-10 Montpellier

By Keir MurrayBBC Scotland
DTH van der Merwe
Glasgow need to win at Bath on Sunday 25 January to have a chance of progressing from Pool 4
Glasgow Warriors (7) 21
Tries: Van der Merwe 3 Cons: Russell 3
Montpellier (10) 10
Try: Privat Con: Lucas Pen: Lucas

DTH van der Merwe scored a trio of tries to help Glasgow Warriors beat Montpellier at Scotstoun but the home team wasted chances to secure a European Champions Cup bonus point.

Glasgow must now win their final Pool 4 game on Sunday at Bath, to have any chance of progressing.

Warriors stuttered as van der Merwe and Thibault Privat exchanged early tries.

But the Canadian added two more after the break to secure the four points.

This was widely described as a must-win match for Glasgow if they wished to continue their involvement in the tournament beyond the pool matches, with the five pool winners and best three runners-up reaching the quarter-finals.

European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 4
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The French side, sitting mid-table in their domestic league, had lost all four of their European matches prior to kick off and fielded a weakened side in cold, clear conditions.

However, with the recent appointment of former South Africa World Cup coach Jake White as head coach, they looked an improved side, a situation made worse for Glasgow by their own panicky attacks as they tried to quench their thirst for tries.

Montpellier began the more aggressively and pounced on Glasgow's slackness to move ahead through Benjamin Lucas's penalty.

Glasgow fly-half Finn Russell opted to kick for touch four times in the first half when there was the chance to get the scoreboard turning over with points from penalties.

Leone Nakarawa (centre) is challenged by Montpellier's Robins Tchale Warchou (left) and Ben Mowen
Leone Nakarawa is challenged by Montpellier's Robins Tchale Warchou and Ben Mowen

The Montpellier defensive line was breached when van der Merwe scored his sixth European Cup try with a run down the left, though it looked like he was sent on his way by a forward pass from Alex Dunbar.

Russell's conversion went over off a post to give Glasgow a 7-3 lead.

They might have moved further ahead when Tommy Seymour picked up a poor kick out of defence from Russell and raced down the right wing before being caught by former sevens player Benoit Sicart.

But it was the visitors who were next to score, as Privat touched down in a push-over try and Lucas added the extras with his boot.

As anxiety spread through the team and the stands, Glasgow, with the wind at their backs, resisted the chance to knock over penalty opportunities and continued to misplace passes.

Jon Welsh
Jon Welsh makes a surge into the French side's half

Akapusi Qera thwarted a brave run by Russell just before the South African prop forward Pat Cilliers was yellow carded for a blatant foul to deny Glasgow a try.

From the scrum, Josh Strauss darted at the try line, as did Jonny Gray, and a try looked imminent until a Jon Welsh pass was intercepted and Montpellier eased the pressure.

Against 14 men, Niko Matawalu was central to a series of pick-and-go attacks before Peter Horne's grubber kick ended the move and Glasgow's last chance of the first half.

Cilliers had returned to the fray to try to stop a more composed Glasgow side early in the second period, but the replacement of Matawalu in favour of Henry Pyrgos produced Glasgow's second try.

The Scotland international picked out the rampaging van der Merwe who crossed for a morale-boosting score, and Russell was certain with the conversion.

Josh Strauss was stretchered off
Glasgow must wait to see if injured captain Josh Strauss is available for next Sunday's game away to Bath

Fraser Brown and Mark Bennett were also now on the pitch for hooker Pat MacArthur and Peter Horne, and the team looked to be more composed.

For all that, Teddy Iribaren highlighted the fragility of the Scots' lead when he evaded several Glasgow tackles in an attack.

Gray shouldered his way through two tackles 10m from the try line as Glasgow pushed once more and, following Lucas Dupont's yellow card, the lively Russell jinked his way to within three metres of a score.

However, it was the confident van der Merwe who completed his hat-trick of tries as, once more, he latched on to a Pyrgos pass and bustled over. Russell made it three conversions from three.

Glasgow pushed desperately for the crucial fourth try but Montpellier succeeded in limiting the damage.

Glasgow Warriors: Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, DTH van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Niko Matawalu, Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, Jon Welsh, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray, Leone Nakarawa, Ryan Wilson, Josh Strauss (Captain). Replacements: Fraser Brown, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Mike Cusack, James Eddie, Richie Vernon, Henry Pyrgos, Mark Bennett, Sean Maitland.

Montpellier: Benoit Sicart, Yohann Artru, Robert Ebersohn, Wynand Olivier, Lucas Dupont, Benjamin Lucas, Teddy Iribaren, Yvan Watremez, Mickael Ivaldi, Pat Cilliers, Robins Tchale Watchou, Thibaut Privat (Captain), Antoine Battut, Akapusi Qera, Ben Mowen. Replacements: Thomas Bianchin, Na'ama Leleimalefaga, David Attoub, Alexandre Bias, Kelian Galletier, Benoit Paillaugue, Enzo Selponi, Viriviri Nasagavesi.