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MAGNIFICENT BUT WITH A LITTLE REGRET!

Lundi 14 Novembre 2011

 

There are certain rugby teams that turn the eyes of some, but when you are drawn in the same H CUP pool as the defending champions Leinster and it’s the first game ever in the history of Montpellier, eyes are wide open in anticipation.
 
After an eternal wait Saturday afternoon finally came and all was ready for combat, Montpellier the new boys on the block and the mighty Leinster twice holders of the coveted H Cup, and the present holders. The club had even moved the game to the Stade de La Mosson which has a larger capacity than our own Stadium.
 
The game was played at speeds unknown to the Montpellier players, bar those who had played at the highest of International rugby, but the effort that was given by the home side was as good if not better than anything that Leinster could throw at their opposition, and with a crowd of 20,000 plus behind Montpellier everything was set for success.
 
Montpellier opened the score with a Benoit Paillaugue penalty in front of the sticks but Jonathan Sexton was soon on target for the visitors passing 2 penalties in quick succession.
 
The Montpellier backs attacked their counterparts every time they had the ball in hand and were causing problems for the Leinster defence but the Irish always seemed to stop every thing that was thrown at them.
 
In the 23rd min. Leinster attacked down the wing but lost the ball, Lucas Amorosino hacked on and there was a 60 mts chase for the ball, Lucas arrived first picked up the ball as he was tackled but managed to free his arms and who was chasing ??? Capt Marvellous, as usual Fulgence Ouedraogo was just behind to catch the ball and sprint unopposed under the sticks for Fulgence’s and Montpellier’s first ever H. Cup try, it could  have been scored by anyone but a try like this had to go to the Leader of the Pack Club Captain Fulgence Ouedraogo, Benoit Paillaugue converted, and added another penalty 5 mins. later.
 
The score at half time Montpellier 13 Leinster 6.
 
The second half Montpelier started very strong and came close to scoring a couple of times, but the Leinster defence held out and everything that Montpellier threw at Leinster they held on, desperate at times but a defence where nothing was left open not even the smallest of gaps, Montpellier were beginning to realise why the opposition were the defending Champions. Francois Trinh-Duc added another penalty to edge the home side 10 points clear but with 24 mins. left, anything could happen.
 
Leinster started to insert pressure and Montpellier defended for their very lives, they held on until the 66th mins when after endless movements towards the Montpellier try line they finally succeeded, the replacement hooker Sean Cronin crashing over into the hallowed ground Sexton converted and Leinsrter were back in the game 3 points down at 16-13.
 
The last 12mins saw Leinster pitch their tents on the Montpellier try line how they did not score probably a miracle, a miracle that was the defence of  all 15 players on that park, very tired men they continued to tackle their hearts out,  guts, blood, and bodies were being thrown on the line every remaining second of the game, 77, 78, 79 mins no way through for Leinster then just maybe the rugby God is Irish the man in the middle Mr Dave Pearson who had refereed exceptionally well blew for a penalty for Leinster, unfortunately the crowd reacted and with no respect, the noise was horrendous as Sexton stepped up to take the last kick of the game, straight threw the middle, the ref blew his whistle, the game over 16-16. 
 
 WHAT A MATCH !!! 
 
Superlatives there were many, Mamuka Gorgodze took the deserved title of Man of the Match and received a beautiful piece of Waterford crystal; every player from Montpellier who played this afternoon should be praised. A Southern Hemisphere front row who had never played together truly magnificent, 2nd row grafted all the game, the back row ran miles tacked like demons led by Captain Marvellous, Fulgence unstoppable, the backs led by a Paillaugue and Chef D’ Orchestre Francois Trinh-Duck sublime. For the first adventure into the H Cup this game that will be remembered for years, probably a fair result as Lienster also played their part, a truly magnificent game of rugby and both teams should be complemented on their participation, today RUGBY WAS THE WINNER.
 
Steve Whittell.