The French side triumphed at Twickenham
Montpellier win Challenge Cup with brilliant second-half score
There was only one point in it and the Leicester Tigers maul looked to be the biggest weapon in the game, but Montpellier had just enough magic to win the Challenge Cup final at Twickenham, 18-17.
And the telling moment was a sensational Johan Goosen score just before the hour mark.
Tigers were hunting their first European trophy in 19 years and their pack flexed their muscles for most of the game. Lock Harry Wells was the pick of the pack, George Ford was savvy with his kicking and twice Montpellier were down to 14 men. After pulling level at 10-10 at half-time, Tigers drove to a 17-10 lead.
Two classic Tigers tries came from the might of the pack, with Wells and Jasper Wiese thundering over.
But then the fine Goosen score arrived, with Jan Serfontein and replacement wing Gabriel N’Gandebe at the centre of it all.
Many will feel that Tigers could have made more of their driving maul. And this Montpellier side has been fighting all season to stay in the Top 14. There was a real opportunity there for the Midlands side. However, Montpellier came from behind to lift a title they last held in 2016.
Talking after the game, Leicester hooker and captain Tom Youngs was reflective, telling BT Sport: “We haven’t been in a final for eight years, but we got here and we feel like we’ve moved forward a lot. We came here to win of course and I felt like everyone gave everything they had out there. We’ll learn from this and we’ll keep going.
“Everyone knows what we’ve been through in recent years as a club and there were some young boys out there tonight who will grow immensely from this experience.
“I just couldn’t be prouder of how we’ve got here and it was great to hear a crowd tonight too, they were amazing.”
But the day belonged to Montpellier who, despite a rough season in the Top 14, now have a trophy and automatically qualify for next season’s Champions Cup.
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