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CATA IN CATALAN

Lundi 16 Septembre 2013
Another Friday evening game, this time against Perpignan away from home, and this will not be the last, as the following two Friday’s we are home to Clermont and then away to Stade Francais, if you count the opening game of the season against Toulon, that is 4 Friday games out of the 1st. 7 days of this seasons TOP 14, a love affair with Canal + ? One wonders!!!
 
After last Sunday’s excellent result against the mighty Toulouse at home 25-0, Montpellier were heading to the local derby match against Perpignan with ambition and a mental attitude to be aggressive and secure a minimum of the bonus point or even better. Aime-Giral is not known for its generosity towards visiting teams but the 3 ex USAP players, Nico Mas, Robins Tchale-Watchou, and Charles Geli all got a standing ovation when they entered the area, which is sporting gesture that is not always in evidence, well played the supporters of USAP. Unfortunately the mental and even at times the physical preparations of the Montpellier players were left on the coach in the car park, Montpellier were a shadow of the team just 5 days previous.
 
After just 20 mins. Montpellier was down by 3 tries to zero, the first, a classic piece of charity, a line out 5 meters from the Montpellier line the ball was secured, then lost and the USAP scrum half, Duvenage thanking everyone on his way past dived over in the corner. The second a masterpiece from Lopez , he got his hands on the ball in his own 22, a cross kick of precision gave the winger Piukala open space he sped 60 meters before off loading, the ball finishing in the hands of Purll who went under the posts. The third another lost line out ball by the visitors, a couple of  broken tackles , the inside ball  from Mjekevu to Guitoune and away went the newest member of the French International squad to score in front of selectioner, St.Andre, obviously this will do him no harm whatsoever. Benoit Paillaugue managed a couple of penalties for Montpellier and at the pause Perpignan were 20-6 to the good.
 
The second half saw Perpignan continue with their aggression and good ball skills while Montpellier were struggling in all quarters, and could not find any paths through the USAP defence. In the 63rd minut Taofifenua scored the easiest try of his career, crossing the line at no more than snails pace, after the Montpellier defence was torn from limb to limb. Paillaugue added another penalty and Jimmy Nagusa went over in the corner, Pelissie adding the extras from the touch line, Montpellier were in touching distance of the defence bonus point but, patience and guile were not present, wrong decisions and silly mistakes put paid to any chance of that ever happening, lack of leadership was obvious, a back row showing cracks under pressure, all in all a bad day at the office for Montpellier, one Big Catastrophe in Catalonia.
 
The final whistle was blown and Montpellier, trudged of the field feeling very sorry for themselves a chance had been missed, the turn around will have to be quick and serious as next Friday the opposition is Clermont and they are 1st class opponents either at home or away. The same image shown next Friday must not happen, especially in front of a probable near capacity home crowd.
 
Steve Whittell.