Montpellier 26-19 Harlequins: Mogg's try double leads French outfit to European Challenge Cup triumph

Montpellier claimed victory in the European Challenge Cup, after beating Harlequins 26-19 in Lyon

Montpellier 26-19 Harlequins: Mogg's try double leads French outfit to European Challenge Cup triumph
Montpellier claimed victory in the European Challenge Cup final (image via: epcrugby.com)

In the pre-cursor to tomorrow's Champions Cup final, Montpellier claimed victory in the European Challenge Cup, after beating Harlequins 26-19 at the Grande Stade de Lyon

Australian full-back Jesse Mogg scored a try in either half for the French side, who's power up front proved too much for Quins who will be left with a huge sense of frustration. 

Jesse Mogg dives over for one of his two tries (image via: epcrugby.com)

The win guarantees Montpellier a spot in the Champions Cup next season (which they would have gained through league position anyway), while Harlequins miss out once more in what was Conor O'Shea's last game as Director of Rugby for the London-club, before he takes over as the Italian national coach. 

The game also came just days after Harlequins were rocked as a club, after 20-year-old academy player Seb Adeniran-Olule passed away following a road traffic collision. An impecable minutes silence was held for Olule before the game, while Quins matchday shirts included commerative embroidery in his memory.

Harlequins matchday shirts included commerative embroidery for Seb Adeniran-Olule who passed away during the week (image via: Steve Bardens/Getty)

Resilient Quins keep in touch after robust first half

Despite claiming control for a large majority of the first-half, Jake White's Montpellier only headed to the break with a four-point lead. 

White's forward unit is packed with South African internationals, and they were dominant for large stretches of the opening forty minutes. Bismarck du Plessis in particular came to the fore with some strong carrying and beastly defence, later claiming the man of the match award. 

After a couple of early penalties from Demetri Catrikalis and Nick Evans, Mogg's opening try saw Montpellier build a 13-3 lead. An early replacement for the injured Benjamin Fall, Mogg found himself on the end of an excellent move to score with his first touch, with Anthony Tuitavake supplying the final pass after Francois Steyn had cut the defence open. 

Evans then added a pair of penalties to close out the half, with Harlequins being outplayed yet within four points of their opponents at the interval. 

Montpellier hold on to claim maiden European crown

The French side were fastest out of the blocks in the second half, and it didn't take long for them to extend their lead.

Camped under the opposition posts, replacement scrum-half Benoit Pallaigue spotted Mogg out wide, and sent up a pin-point box kick which the Australian claimed over Jamie Roberts Aussie-Rules style, before touching down for his second try of the game. 

Catrikalis converted the try from close to the touchline, before adding a pair of penalties to stretch Montpellier's lead out to 17 with 13 minutes left on the clock. 

Marland Yarde gave Harlequins hope with his late try (image via: Getty)

Quins then kicked into gear and got themselves back into the game when England winger Marland Yarde capitalised on a grubber kick to smash his way over the line. 

Ben Botica then kicked over an easy penalty to bring Quins to within seven points with three minutes left on the clock, before the Montpellier-bound fly-half became the villain of the piece after kicking the ball away after time had expired, handing his future employers their first major European trophy.