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Goneva saves Leicester

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PARIS - A final-minute converted try by Fijian Nike Goneva gave Leicester a 15-14 win over Montpellier to be well placed to top their pool in rugby's European Cup.

The two-time champions trail Ulster by three points with two Pool 5 matches remaining.

The Tigers looked gone after Lucas Dupont scored Montpellier's second try of the second half, converted by Eric Escande for a 14-5 lead with 17 minutes remaining.

Leicester, who had broken the deadlock with a Tom Youngs try after the first half had ended 0-0 for only the fourth time in the competition's history, struck back through a penalty by replacement five-eighth Ryan Lamb.

Entering the final minute, they still trailed 14-8 until a passing movement put the ball out to Goneva who crossed.

Montpellier coach Fabien Galthie had sent out a starting XV featuring 14 different players from last weekend's defeat in Leicester.

Leicester's English Premiership rivals Harlequins stayed in the hunt for a quarter-final berth while effectively knocking big-spending French side Racing-Metro out with a clinical 17-3 victory in London.

Harlequins' win completed the double over Racing-Metro, who performed better than their 32-8 drubbing in Paris last Saturday.

Harlequins trail Pool 4 leaders Clermont, who have 15 points, by four points with two games remaining, while Racing-Metro are joint bottom with Welsh outfit Scarlets on six points.

Racing had shown their intent to try to turn things round by also making 14 changes to their starting line-up.

Among those to come in were international heavyweights Jonathan Sexton and Mike Phillips.

Harlequins eased into a 6-0 lead with two penalties by Nick Evans and the French side were reduced to 14 men when prop David Khinchagashvili punched Joe Marler but escaped with just a yellow card.

The hosts scored a much-deserved try on halftime as Charlie Walker raced through to touch down and they led 14-0 at the interval.

Ben Botica slotted a penalty in the 52nd minute to make it 17-0, while Sexton finally put Racing-Metro on the board with a penalty on the hour mark.

In the other game, Edinburgh played far more intelligently than Gloucester in dreadful conditions and pulled off a surprise 16-10 win in England.