Williams' red card proves the tipping point for Cardiff

Cardiff Blues 24 Montpellier 35

Cardiff Arms Park

Phil Davies questioned Lloyd Williams' first-half red card after Cardiff Blues crashed out of Europe with a third straight defeat. The Wales scrum-half was given his marching orders only 25 minutes into this showdown after making a dangerous tip-tackle.

The 14-man Blues put in a brave and spirited performance but it was not enough as Montpellier capitalised on the numerical advantage to keep their Pool Six hopes alive.

Yoan Audrin scampered over for the first try just five minutes after Williams was sent for an early shower, and the French outfit added two more through Mamuka Gorgodze and Timoci Nagusa after the break. Davies, the Cardiff Blues director of rugby, was frustrated by Irish referee John Lacey's decision, but praised his side's fighting spirit. "I'm not sure it was the right decision. It was a bit of a rustic challenge; I think we will contest it but we will have to have another look," he said.

"The way we adjusted and played after that was really pleasing. Overall, I thought the effort and determination was fantastic."

Cardiff went into the encounter deprived of 10 players, including their Wales trio Bradley Davies, Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny; they were dealt a further blow when openside flanker Sam Warburton was forced to pull out with a chest infection.

However, Cardiff fought superbly, and the boot of the impressive teenager Rhys Patchell kept them in touch until the last 10 minutes. It was not enough, though. Davies added: "For a guy who is just 19, Rhys was outstanding today. He stood out because of his maturity, his goal-kicking is excellent and his kicking out of hand is pretty good, too. He has a great temperament, a great skill-set and a fantastic work ethic."

The fly-half, making his first Heineken Cup appearance, booted the Blues into the lead after just two minutes, but Montpellier responded on 10 minutes when Benoît Paillaugue hit back after the giant French pack flexed their muscles up front.

However, the contest took a major turn for the worse for the hosts when Williams was sent off. The ball squirted out of a Blues scrum, Paillaugue pounced and Williams flipped his opposite number on to his head with an unintentional but reckless tip-tackle.

The incident brought memories of Wales' World Cup heartbreak in Auckland flooding back as once again a Welshman, a Frenchman and an Irishman combined to produce a devastating red card.

Paillaugue slotted the ensuing penalty, forcing the fired-up Blues to storm back with a drop-goal from the nerveless Patchell. But it did not take long for Montpellier to capitalise on their numerical advantage and, after attacking with gusto down the right, the ball was spread to the opposite wing where Thomas Combezou sent Audrin flying over. Paillaugue kicked the touchline conversion and added a penalty, after Patchell responded with three points of his own, to hand his side a narrow 19-15 lead at the interval.

Patchell continued his impressive form with the boot , landing a monster penalty but Montpellier quickly struck with a second try: Paillaugue and Santiago Fernandez combined to make the initial inroads and Gorgodze eventually drove over from close range.

Patchell responded once again for the home team, kicking his seventh penalty, but the diminutive French scrum-half put the result beyond doubt before Nagusa rubbed further salt into Welsh wounds.

Scorers: Cardiff Blues: Penalties: Patchell 7; Drop-goal Patchell. Montpellier: Tries Audrin, Gorgodze, Nagusa; Conversion Paillaugue; Penalties Paillaugue 6.

Cardiff Blues: J Tovey (L Jones 40); A Cuthbert, G Evans, D Hewitt, H Robinson (O Williams 66); R Patchell, L Williams; S Hobbs (T Filise 57), M Breeze (R Williams 57), S Andrews (B Bourrust 63), L Reed, J Down, R Copeland (L Hamilton 66), A Pretorius (capt), J Navidi.

Montpellier: B Thiery (T Nagusa 56); Y Audrin, T Combezou, P Bosch, P Berard; S Fernandez, B Paillaugue; M Nariashvili (Y Watremez 50), A Creevy (E Van Vuuren 50), M Bustos (B Fa'amausili 73), D Hancke(M De Marco 62), A Fakate, A Bias (K Galletier 66), M Gorgodze (capt), J Beattie.

Referee: J Lacey (Ireland).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory