European Champions Cup: Leinster v MontpellierLeinster (12) 24Tries: Carbery, van der Flier, Henshaw, Daly Con: Nacewa, R ByrneMontpellier (7) 17Try: Nadolo 2 Con: Pienaar Pen: Pienaar
Leinster got their European campaign off to a great start by securing a bonus-point win over Montpellier.
Full-back Joey Carbery and flanker Josh van der Flier touched down in the first half with centre Robbie Henshaw and winger Barry Daly adding further tries.
Montpellier winger Nemani Nadolo, the leading try scorer in France’s Top 14, got both tries for the visitors.
Leinster had winger Adam Byrne sin-binned for the final six minutes but were able to see the game out.
It is an encouraging opening Pool Three result for Leo Cullen’s team, particularly as it was achieved without star fly-half Johnny Sexton who watched from the RDS sidelines because of a leg injury.
For Montpellier, currently second in the Top 14, it was the fourth year in a row they have started their European campaign on a losing note.
Leinster took the lead in the 17th minute when Sexton’s young replacement Ross Byrne fired a pass out for Carbery whose pace took him into the right corner for Leinster’s 400th European Cup try.
The second try came on 26 minutes when Van der Flier burrowed through, just about making the line for a seven-pointer.
With home skipper Isa Nacewa hobbling off, Frans Steyn surged through midfield and Nadolo was held up just short. From the resulting scrum, a bouncing pass sat up for the big Fijian to finish off and former Ulster player Ruan Pienaar converted for a 12-7 interval deficit.
The luck was on Leinster’s side when Ross Byrne’s cross-field kick came off the hands of Jesse Mogg and Joe Tomane, and Henshaw grabbed it for an easy 43rd-minute run-in.
Nadolo got his second try of the day on 62 minutes, charging in from five yards with Luke McGrath and Noel Reid unable to do much about it.
A tense finale looked likely, but Leinster went 24-14 up when winger Daly took Carbery’s pass to force his way over on the left.
Poor discipline from Ross Molony allowed Pienaar to kick Montpellier into bonus-point range, and winger Byrne’s deliberate knock-on left the hosts holding on with 14 men.
Leinster: J Carbery, A Byrne, R Henshaw, I Nacewa (capt), B Daly, R Byrne, L McGrath, J McGrath, J Tracy, T Furlong, D Toner, S Fardy, R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan.
Replacements: S Cronin, C Healy, M Bent, R Molony, J Murphy, J Gibson-Park, N Reid, F McFadden.
Montpellier: J Mogg; B Fall, J Tomane, F Steyn, N Nadolo; T Darmon, R Pienaar; M Nariashvili, B Du Plessis, A Guillamon; J Du Plessis, N Van Rensburg, K Galletier, Y Camara, L Picamoles.
Replacements: R Ruffenach, Y Watremez, D Kubriashvili, J Delannoy, W Liebenberg, B Paillaugue, T Nagusa, J Michel