|London Irish (24) 27|
|Tries: Gonzalez 2, Cinti Pens: Jackson, Jennings Cons: Jackson 3 Red card: Creevy|
|Montpellier (13) 32|
|Tries: Reinach, Darmon 2, Becognee Pens: Carbonel 2 Cons: Carbonel 3|
Montpellier capitalised on Agustin Creevy’s red card to come from behind and earn a 32-27 win over London Irish in their Heineken Champions Cup opener.
The hosts were in control after tries from Juan Martin Gonzalez and Lucio Cinti before Creevy was sent off after high tackle on Anthony Bouthier.
Gonzalez scored a second to stretch their lead but Cobus Reinach hit back before the break.
Thomas Darmon scored twice and Alexandre Becognee sealed the comeback.
Irish, in their first Champions Cup campaign for more than a decade, were three tries to the good despite losing Creevy to an avoidable red card, when they made a game-changing error.
They tried to kick the ball dead from the base of a ruck but with three seconds still on the clock, Montpellier were allowed to take the line-out, which led to Reinach’s try.
Irish seemed to shake off the disappointment of that late score in the first period with some big carries at the start of the second, but it was the visitors who added to the score with Darmon finishing in the corner.
Double try scorer Gonzalez was then replaced because of a head injury before Montpellier took the lead for the first time when Becognee crossed from close range.
Darmon added his second to put the Top 14 side out of reach but Rory Jennings’ late penalty handed Irish a losing bonus point.
London Irish: Loader; Cinti, Joseph, Van Rensburg, Hassell-Collins; Jackson, White; Gigena, Creevy, Chawatama, Simmons, Coleman, Rogerson, Gonzalez, Fa’aso’o.
Replacements: Willemse, Fischetti, Hoskins, Munga, Cunningham-South, Powell, Jennings, Morisi.
Montpellier: Bouthier; Lam, Darmon, Garbisi, Bridge; Carbonel, Reinach; Forletta, Paenga-Amosa, Haouas, Chalureau, Verhaeghe, Camara, Becognee, Mercer.
Replacements: Langdon, Tu’inukuafe, Lamositele, Doumenc, Coly, Tisseron, Dakuwaqa, Tauleigne.