Boost for Springboks as Handre Pollard helps Montpellier reach Challenge Cup final
LONDON – Montpellier scrumhalf Benoit Paillaugue stated South African World Cup winner Handre Pollard can have “a very big role to play” in the remainder of the marketing campaign, after making his first look since September as the French membership reached the European Challenge Cup final with a 19-10 win at Bath on Saturday.
Flyhalf Pollard, who suffered a severe knee damage in simply his second sport of the season, got here off the bench within the second half to kick a late penalty for the Top 14 strugglers.
“He’s a very important part of our team. He’s got a lot of experience and will help us a lot at the end of the season. He has a very big role to play,” Paillaugue stated.
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“We showed massive heart today, huge solidarity. It was a deserved win.”
Montpellier, the 2016 Challenge Cup winners, will face Leicester within the final on May 21 at Twickenham, the place as much as 10,000 followers might be current.
Home coach Stuart Hooper named Zach Mercer, who will be part of the French membership subsequent season, at No. 8.
Pollard was joined by two different World Cup winners in scrum-half Cobus Reinach, and hooker Bismarck du Plessis on the guests’ bench.
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The English outfit led 7-0 after simply 5 minutes as prop Tom Dunn crossed and scrum-half Ben Spencer slotted a conversion.
Philippe Saint-Andre’s French facet then sparked into life and led 10-7 after Paillaugue arrange Yacouba Camara for a high-quality effort.
Montpellier held onto the lead on the break after Paillaugue and Spencer exchanged penalties to make it 16-10.
Bath pressed on contained in the away facet’s 22 with 25 minutes left and away prop Enzo Forletta was sin-binned for infringing at a ruck.
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Pollard, 27, then made his return with 22 minutes to go, nearly eight months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, and his first involvement was an up-and-under which he failed to assemble.
Du Plessis, a World Cup winner in 2007 with the Springboks, additionally got here on and gained two unimaginable penalties on the breakdown with the house facet on prime.
Despite Bath’s efforts looking for a try to place within the final, a primary since 2014, Montpellier defended effectively to carry on and Pollard kicked a penalty in added time.
Montpellier’s focus now turns to internet hosting La Rochelle subsequent weekend and securing their Top 14 standing, as they’re simply 4 factors above the relegation play-off place.