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LAGARDE KICK STARTS THE NEW SEASON
Le 12 septembre 2011
Friday evening Montpellier were in Paris for the 2nd time in 2 weeks, this weekend the match was at Charlety against the Dieux du Stade, Stade Francais, with zero wins from 2 games Montpellier needed to show that they were not going to be also rans this season.
On the positive side, Geoffrey Doumayrou was making his first start since his shoulder injury in La Rochelle last season and a first cap for new signing South African Paul Bosch who partners the Doum at centre.
Montpellier had given little commitment in the first 2 matches and it was time for them to come to the front and show why they wear the Ciste on their rugby shirts.
The game was a torrid affair in the first half with countless errors from both sides but Montpellier winning the error count nevertheless, the only real spark was the in the 36th min when Danty ran in an excellent try for the Stade Francais. At half time the score was Stade 13 Montpellier 6, two penalties from Lagarde.
Throughout the match Rapha Lagarde kept Montpellier in touch with his excellent goal kicking, and in the 65 min produced a moment of magic down the wing to serve the young scrum half Eric Escande (who had only just replaced the injured Julien Tomas) with a perfect pass for the youngster to scamper under the sticks into the hallowed ground for his first try of the season, which Lagarde duly converted score 19 -19.
The last 15 mins showed Montpellier with new heart and they tried to tie the match up with a victory but could not quite mange it.
In the dying seconds Lagarde had a massive 60mts. penalty chance from the touchline but only just failed, a brave attempt, the Ref whistled the end of the encounter and Montpellier settled for 2 pts which were well deserved and their season finally, was kicked started into action. Final score Stade Francais 19 Montpellier 19.
There were still too many mistakes from numerous players, but Paul Bosch was outstanding in defence with some typical bone crunching tackles seen often from South Africans, Doumayrou played well in partnership with Bosch and could be a pair of centres for the future, Privat took control of the front 5 management, Remy Martin started to show his true value, but head protection could be a must as he had to leave the park 3 times for blood head injuries, and Lagarde once again earned his salary with his impressive goal kicker which kept the scoreboard ticking along nicely, but the most important issue was that Montpellier gave renaissance to the pride and commitment which we are used to seeing, nowhere near perfect, but the gears are now in forward, the evidence will be even more cemented with a better display against USAP at Aime Giral next Friday evening ko. 20.00, the Catalans also are having their own problems and could be vulnerable even at home over the next couple of weeks.