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Sale Sharks 6 Montpellier 27
6:36pm Monday 14th January 2013 in Sport
SALE Sharks youngsters put up a spirited display against a strong Montpellier side who claimed a try bonus point in the final three minutes.
Montpellier still have a good chance of finishing in one of the best runner up spots and progressing to the quarter finals.
Sharks on the other hand made several changes from the team that lost at Saracens.
David Seymour was back as captain, Mark Cueto moved to centre to pair up with youngster Mark Jennings and Josh Beaumont, son of former England captain Bill Beaumont, made his first team debut at number 8.
The Sharks side included 18 players with English qualification.
Early exchanges between the teams cancelled one another out but the big French side looked very imposing, led by Flanker Gorgodze and number 8 Johnnie Beattie.
Montpellier were using the rolling maul as often as possible and although Sharks struggled to contain the French they were making inroads themselves. One attack saw Mark Jennings make valuable metres before knocking on.
Montpellier went ahead on nine minutes when Artru ran in a try under the posts. Scrum half Pailaugue converted (0-7).
Sharks gathered momentum after the restart and Danny Cipriani reduced the arrears on 16 mins with a 32metre penalty (3-7) Mark Jennings and Charlie Amesbury were the pick of the three quarters for Sharks making metres when they got the opportunity.
The visitors went further ahead on 33 mins after an Aston Croall missed tackle let in Johnnie Beattie who bulldozed his way over the try line. Pailaugue converted to give the visitors a 3-12 lead.
Danny Cipriani put Sharks back in the game on 35 minutes with his second penalty and his 16th successive kick at goal.
Half Time Sale Sharks 6 Montpellier 12 David Seymour was leading by example for Sharks putting his body on the line time after time as Montpellier pressed forward.
On 47 minutes Montpellier went further ahead with a penalty in front of the posts which Pailaugue kicked (6-15).
A minute late Berard scored a try in the corner after an excellent break, The try was unconverted (6-20).
Sharks started to make their substitutions and one of the players replaced was young Mark Jennings who's contribution was praised by Steve Diamond after the game.
Charlie Amesbury continued to pose a threat to the Montpellier defence and made valuable metres towards the visitors line.
Sharks best chance of the game came on 64 minutes when James Doyle hacked the ball forward and both he and Mark Cueto set off in pursuit. The Montpellier full back Berard won the race to the ball and kicked it into the South Stand.
Referee Leighton Hodges awarded the visitors a penalty try on 78 minutes after a scrum in the Sharks 22, Escande converted to give the visitors their try bonus point.
Johnnie Beattie was judged as man of the match by the press for an impressive display at number 8.
Final Score Sale Sharks 6 Montpellier 27.