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CHALLENGE VAQUERIN part 2.

Mardi 06 Août 2013
The most idyllique of settings Cameres, Aveyron was the venue for Montpellier’s second pre-season game against Top 14 opposition Grenoble, a much stronger test than the previous game last week against Brive. Grenoble who were in contention for a top 6 place for ¾ of last season until they began to weaken near the end. This season they have recruited well and were always going to be a threat to Montpellier.
 
From the very first whistle they attacked the Montpellier try line and it was not long before they were on the score board with a try from Albertus Buckle who was sent crashing over by his forwards. Grenoble 7 Montpellier 0. Eric Escande and Francois Trinh-Duc both managed a penalty apiece to bring the score to within 1 point but Grenoble’s scrum half Courrent added another 2 penalties to make the half time score 13-6, Montpellier were for the moment out of sorts and were being dominated especially up front by the Grenoble pack who were enjoying their outing in the terrific heat of Cameres. 
 
The second half started with Montpellier playing better and the young Kelian Galletier went over after only minutes of the second half, this youngster has massive potential and could go a long way with his rugby career if he stays as serious as he has already shown on many occasions, Francois Trinh-Duc added the extras the score 13-13. Montpellier still had to defend against a team that was throwing the ball all over the park and were giving Montpellier plenty to think about in defence, but good tackling kept Grenoble at bay.
Enzo Selponi who had replaced Trinh-Duc showed why he is an under 20 international fly half with a brilliant piece of fancy footwork, and using the dummy pass, he took the space he created and went over in the corner, a try appreciated by the good humoured holiday crowd present, the conversion was missed but Montpellier had a slender 5 point lead 13-18. Grenoble came back and scored with a try by their forwards who rumbled over this was converted by Carminati and Grenoble had their noses in front by 2 points 20-18. In the dying moments of the game Jonathan Pelisse had the chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat but his penalty attempt from 40mts. was just wide and the victory went to Grenoble who just about deserved their win. Final score Grenoble 20 Montpellier 18.
 
This second showing of the season by Montpellier was nowhere near were they should be with 2 weeks to go before the first game of this season’s TOP 14 against the mighty Toulon. Then again is the sly old fox Fabien Galthie not showing all his cards on the table and keeping a few things back for when the real competitions start again, another reason why the club wanted that signature of the General for another 3yrs?
 
Next Saturday Montpellier are of to Geneva where they are playing Leicester Tigers in a Tournament sponsored by the Swiss, this will be interesting as Leicester have been drawn in the same Pool 5 of the H Cup as Montpellier, and this match could be a preview for things to come in December. The season is getting closer by the minute Montpellier have 2 weeks left to prepare, they must use this time well if  they are going to flourish once again this season.
 
Steve Whittell.