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It was not to be

Le 05 juin 2018

26 games played in this season’s TOP 14, unbeaten at home, enough points won from those matches to go directly in the semi final play-offs, a massive game at LYON by the boys to get themselves a place in the end of season TOP 14 Championship final v Castres, which leaves just 80 mins. of rugby left to win this famous Bouclier de Brennus.

 But it was not to be ! 

Whatever happened in Paris on Saturday evening will be truly left in Paris only the lesson given by Castres should stay as an example to remember and learn from your mistakes as our coach Vern Cotter said after the game “we win together or we lose together”. It is pointless criticizing individual players they themselves know, they should have been better, but the experience is still enormous and the team is young and dynamic and we will return to escalate to better and newer pastures. Losing the Bouclier, we except defeat, but the The Bouclier is only lent to Castres for a season!!!

For reasons unknown to man and beast the team did not perform as most thought they would. Many comments were made, stage fright, like rabbits fixed in font of the headlights, plus many more. Of course we will have the usual press critics but then we are used to it by now and its like pouring water off a ducks back.

The match has been rewritten and rerun by most to almost exhaustion so we all now know Castres are the holders and French Champions for the coming season. Yes they deserved their win and they did their homework well. We were beaten in almost every quarter, and they dubbed underdogs by press and television performed to the highest level, not always pretty but very workman like in their execution, and maybe they were just a little more hungrier than our boys on the night. The bitterness and heartache of losing will eventually be pushed to the back of the memory but the experience gained is massive despite the result, and this will give the team newer and brighter confidence when they return to this elite level, which they will do.

There are always 2 teams in the final the winner and the losers, Castres were the winners and we even in a state of dejection and sadness congratulate them as Champions of France the highest level which they have done twice in the last 5years, they also have lost finals in those last few years and have felt the agony, but this is sport at the highest level and there are always the happy one and the very sad ones but there is no other way, draws do not happen there is always a winner. more tries or penalty kicks if the teams finish level.

At the end of the game the score was Castres 29 Montpellier 13. Tries by Dumora,  Mafi, both converted by Urdapilleta, plus 5 penalties by the very same. For Montpellier a penalty try and 2 penalties by Francois Steyn and Ruan Pienaar.

This is the last article of the present season and I would like to thank the President Mohed Altrad, for all his work, the coaching staff led by Vern Cotter, all the backroom boys, and Club Staff and finally the players who have bar 80mins. given all, everything they possibly could, and also not forgetting the supporters who have been behind the team all this season, but please, next season the team needs support in the bad moments not just when they are riding clouds !

Everyone please have a well earned rest and come back stronger next season we will one day have the name of Montpellier engraved on the Bouclier de Brennus.

Steve Whittell.