Montpellier vs Northampton
Competition: European Rugby Champions Cup
Date: 20 January 2017
Kick-off: 20:45 CET
The other half of a tight group, both Montpellier and Northampton will believe they deserve the last remaining qualification spot, and the battle will be intense as so does Castres with all three teams being close in log points to each other.
Northampton are technically bottom of Pool Four, but that means very little as they are also only two points away from second place Montpellier and thus still very much in contention. Leinster has already qualified at the top of the group, so there is only one spot left for three teams meaning that the two winners from this final round – if Leinster is not one of them – will be battling for the final spot, and Montpellier has the advantage. Saints need to beat Montpellier, to get to 13 points, but if Castres also win, they will be on 14 points, so really, for their best shot Saints need a bonus point win.
However, Montpellier are first in line as they have 11 points, and thus a point and two respectively over the chasing opposition so if they beat the Saints, Castres need a bonus point win to be in contention and then it will come down to points difference – which is also in favour of Montpellier. The French side is also at home and will feel they have every chance of knocking over the English side who have been poor up until recently. Despite Northampton’s recent improvement, Montpellier have an unbelievable team, and are tough at home.
Montpellier vs Northampton: Previous encounter
Northampton took advantage of a French side that does not like to travel when they just pipped Montpellier 16-14 in a tight game back in the first encounter for the opening round. It was a dramatic end as Stephen Myler struck an injury time penalty to grab the win.
Montpellier vs Northampton: Prediction
Northampton have been improving recently, but Montpellier have the belief that they should be in the next round along with Leinster so you can be assured they will out on a good show to qualify in front of their home crowd. Expect the Saints to be competitive. But ultimately to be overwhelmed by the brutal French side.
Montpellier vs Northampton: Tips
There are plenty of born try-scorers in this game, it is worth backing the likes of Ken and George Pisi for the Saints, and Nemani Nadolo and Nic WHite for Montpellier to be anytime tryscorers.