Montpellier 22-12 Newport Gwent Dragons

Lewis Evans in action for Dragons

Newport Gwent Dragons bowed out of the European Challenge Cup with semi-final defeat by a strong Montpellier side.

Montpellier’s dominance saw them lead 22-0 with Demetri Catrakilis scoring five penalties and Bismark du Plessis crossing for a try.

Dragons rallied with tries from Hallam Amos and Carl Meyer but they suffered their second successive semi-final loss in Europe.

Montpellier will face Harlequins in the final in Lyon on 13 May.

Dragons’ build up to the game had been overshadowed by the departure of director of rugby Lyn Jones with namesake Kingsley Jones assuming control until the end of the season,

Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau was passed fit for Dragons despite injuring his eye in the derby defeat at Cardiff Blues.

Montpellier, coached by 2007 World Cup winning coach Jake White, boasted seven South African players in the their squad including front-row brothers Bismark and Jannie du Plessis.

The hosts put Dragons under early pressure but it was the visitors who had the first opportunity to secure the game’s first points, although Dorian Jones

Montpellier dominated proceedings and slowly built up a lead during the first half with Demetri Catrakilis slotting over three penalties and Benoit Paillaugue adding a fourth.

They went into the break leading 12-0 after Dragons full-back Carl Meyer put his penalty wide of the post with the final kick of the first half.

Dragons made an encouraging start to the second half but they encountered further problems in the scrum which had proved costly during the first half.

Catrakilis punished them further with his fifth penalty of the game before he converted Bismark du Plessis’ try following a driving lineout.

But Dragons responded immediately as Meyer and Faletau combined to set up Amos to score his second try of this season’s competition.

Meyer failed with the conversion but the full-back made amends when he crossed for his side’s second try of the game, which replacement Angus O’Brien converted.

But despite Dragons’ late flourish they fell to their third semi-final defeat in European rugby’s second tier competition.

Montpellier: Benjamin Fall; Timoci Nagusa, Robert Ebersohn, Frans Steyn, Marvin O’Connor; Demetri Catrakilis, Benoit Paillaugue; Mikheil Nariashvili, Bismarck Du Plessis, Jannie Du Plessis, Robins Tchale Watchou, Paul Willemse, Fulgence Ouedraogo (capt), Akapusi Qera, Pierre Spies.

Replacements: Mickael Ivaldi, Yvan Watremez, Davit Kubriashvili, Thibaut Privat, Wiaan Liebenberg, Nic White, Benjamin Lucas, Anthony Tuitavke.

Dragons: Carl Meyer; Adam Hughes; Tyler Morgan, Adam Warren; Hallam Amos; Dorian Jones, Sarel Pretorius; Phil Price, Elliot Dee, Brok Harris, Rynard Landman, Nick Crosswell, Lewis Evans (c), Nic Cudd, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Boris Stankovich, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Ed Jackson, Charlie Davies, Angus O’Brien, Jack Dixon.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Assistant referees: JP Doyle, Greg Garner (England)

TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Citing commissioner: Alberto Recaldini (Italy)

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