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Watch: 'Everyone will have their own opinion' - Agustin Creevy red card

By PA
Agustin Creevy cops a red for a high shot - Credit: BT Sport

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney accepted that the dismissal of hooker Agustin Creevy was the turning point as his side lost 32-27 to Montpellier in their Heineken Champions Cup opener.

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At the time of Creevy’s departure in the 34th minute for a head-high challenge, Irish looked in total control, having scored three tries in quick succession to lead 24-6.

Irish fought bravely, but the handicap proved too much as Montpellier reversed their fortunes by scoring four tries.

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Thomas Darmon scored two, with the others coming from Cobus Reinach and Alexandre Becognee. Louis Carbonel added three conversions and two penalties.

Flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez scored two tries for Irish, while Lucio Cinti was also on the try-scoring sheet and Paddy Jackson kicked a penalty and three conversions. Rory Jennings added a late penalty.

Kidney said: “Obviously the sending-off was crucial. Everyone will have their own opinion as their player was dropping down and Agustin was trying to back out of the challenge.

“However, we have to take responsibility, but it’s mixed emotions in the dressing room as we knew the performance was there, but it’s still a defeat, which is tough to take.

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“Our players are ambitious and want to play the best and win and I’ve never enjoyed losing.

“We had to manage the third quarter better, but taking the kick at the end saw us get a point, which is better than none.”

Next up for Irish in the competition is a trip to Cape Town to face the Stormers.

“The next 24 hours is crucial as we fly out on Sunday,” added Kidney. “At the moment, no-one has said they are unavailable, but we will have to assess everyone as there are a number of bangs and knocks and you can’t call on replacements out in Cape Town.

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“It’s a great competition and we love being part of it, but it’s still a relentless one.”

Montpellier director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre confirmed that he had laid into his team at the interval.

He said: “I was grumpy and cross as we made a poor start by giving them a couple of soft tries and we needed to play with more urgency.

“Our line-out was poor as we had been disrupted in that area and our ill-discipline was costing us.

“However, our scrum was strong and after the interval we played with a lot of character to score some good tries.

“It’s a short competition, so five points away from home is a good start for us.”

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