Harlequins ran in six tries as they began their European Rugby Challenge Cup campaign with a bonus-point win over Montpellier and man-of-the-match Charlie Matthews believes the victory started up front.
Scrum-half Benoit Paillaugue booted four of his six penalties early on to put Montpellier in control but Harlequins roared back to eventually triumph 41-18 at the Twickenham Stoop on Thursday evening.
Two tries in nine minutes from Luke Wallace and Nick Easter helped the hosts into a 15-12 half-time lead before they truly kicked on after the break.
Jack Clifford and Danny Care dotted down following impressive driving mauls while Ollie Lindsay-Hague touched down under the posts and Chris Robshaw crossed the whitewash after being set free by Kyle Sinckler’s clever play.
And after ending Montpellier’s six-game winning streak against English sides, lock Matthews admitted he was impressed by his side’s response to the French outfit’s quick start.
“We were under the cosh a bit at the start and it was a great effort by the front five to get back into the game,” said Matthews.
“We had been practising our driving maul for hours this week and it was good to get the reward.
“We always play every game like a cup final and we get licence from the coaches to throw the ball about. We are all now massively looking forward to going to Cardiff to play the Blues next week on their plastic pitch.”
Harlequins 41 Montpellier 18
Tries: Wallace, Easter, Clifford, Care, Lindsay-Hague, Robshaw
Conversions: Evans 3, Botica
Penalties: Paillaugue 6
Referee: Ian Davies