European Rugby Champions Cup: Montpellier 26-17 Northampton Saints

Lee Dickson
Scrum-half Lee Dickson scored Northampton's opening try
European Champions Cup Pool Four
Montpellier (7) 26
Tries: Galletier, Nadolo 2, Du Plessis Cons: Catrakilis 3
Northampton (10) 17
Tries: Dickson, Kessell Pens: Hanrahan Cons: Hanrahan 2

Northampton suffered a fourth European Champions Cup defeat of the campaign as Montpellier kept their own hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive.

Saints headed into the fixture knowing they could not reach the knockout stages, and made nine changes to the team that beat Castres last week.

Lee Dickson's try helped the visitors take a three-point lead at the break.

However, it was the French side who got the bonus point they desired, as the impressive Nemani Nadolo crossed twice.

Montpellier were ahead inside 10 minutes after Fiji international Nadolo delivered a superb offload for Kelian Galletier to scoot over, and Demetri Catrakilis converted.

Northampton captain Dickson responded when he capitalised on good work from Teimana Harrison and Ethan Waller to reach over the line, with JJ Hanrahan's extras levelling the score.

Number eight Harrison was named in England's Six Nations squad earlier in the day and, with Saracens' Billy Vunipola missing out through injury, may well have impressed head coach Eddie Jones as one of a young Saints side's best performers.

A Hanrahan penalty edged the visitors in front before half-time and Wales wing George North touched down after the interval, having backed up a wonderful break by Ahsee Tuala, only for the full-back's foot to be ruled in touch.

It was Nadolo, who said Montpellier were "ashamed" at their 57-3 defeat by Pool 4 winners Leinster last week, who crossed next after bundling through several tackles, including the attempts of North.

Jacques du Plessis drove over to increase the hosts' lead and the powerful Nadolo dived into the corner for his second with eight minutes to go, before Tom Kessell squeezed in late on for Saints.

The French side can go through in a best runner-up spot if other results go their way this weekend.

Montpellier: Joffrey Michel; Timoci Nagusa, Joseph Tomane, Alexandre Dumoulin, Nemani Nadolo; Demetri Catrakilis, Nic White; Mikheil Nariashvili, Charles Geli, Jannie du Plessis, Paul Willemse, Konstantine Mikautadze, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Kelian Galletier, Akapusi Qera (capt).

Replacements: Shalva Mamukashvili, Yvan Watremez, Antoine Guillamon, Jacques du Plessis, Antoine Battut, Tomas O'Leary, Henry Immelman, Vincent Martin.

Northampton Saints: Ahsee Tuala; Juan Pablo Estelles, Nafi Tuitavake, Harry Mallinder, George North; JJ Hanrahan, Lee Dickson (capt); Ethan Waller, Charlie Clare, Paul Hill, Michael Paterson, James Craig, Jamie Gibson, Ben Nutley, Teimana Harrison.

Replacements: James Fish, Alex Waller, Kieran Brookes, Api Ratuniyarawa, Lewis Ludlam, Tom Kessell, James Wilson, Ken Pisi.

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