Mardi 10 Septembre 2013
The 3rd match in 9 days the first 2, a home win against Brive (without that bonus point) then an away win at Bordeaux on Wed., but the 3rd match against the mighty Stade Toulouse at home on a Sunday afternoon at the very least a task of monumental proportions plus Stade had not brought their 2nd team, the team sheet full of current Internationals, you only had to look at the back row Dusautoir, Picamoles, Nyanga pure class in any ones selection, the Pere Noves was in Montpellier looking for points and certainly not just the losing defensive point, much more than that!!! Not quite a full house but very close, 13,436 and rain forecast luckily the forecasters got it wrong, but the afternoon was close and very humid, not the easiest weather to play rugby, but as most had given their local Mass the miss this morning, the supporters were in excellent voice. Huge mountains of Fire were the introduction for the players entering the arena and with,
“ICI ICI C’EST MONTPELLIER” ringing out at ear breaking volume everything was set for something very special.
The game was tense, physical, very little ground was given, the tackles massive, Toulouse wanted the win, Montpellier were not giving anything, only grief for Toulouse. With the wind turning around the stadium both McAlister and Pelisse had difficulties finding their marks, both missing a couple each.
The Montpellier pack were really giving their counterparts a difficult time, the aggression shown around the rucks and mauls and everywhere in the tackle area was just horrendous, time and time again Montpellier pushed Toulouse back and Micheal Ivaldi was similar to a demented Jack Russell nailing everything and everyone in sight how many balls he stole was uncountable. The first try of the game came after a brilliant piece of opportunity from Jonathon Pelissie, a good session from the forwards, he saw a gap even Tom Thumb would have had difficulty getting through but get through he did, then the Ferrari acceleration beating the last two defenders and over into the hallowed ground., after video, why one wonders? The ref said “Yes,” he added the extras himself. Montpellier ahead 7-0. Just before half time a try was scored by Anthony Floch after a cheeky kick from Yoan Audrin but again the video was called upon and this time the ref said “No” Floch was in font of the kicker, but Jonathan Pelisse managed a penalty on the stroke of half time and Montpellier went to the break 10-0 to the good.
The second half was again a showing of pure aggression from the Cysts, the front 8 forcing untold errors from the mighty Stade Toulouse, Medard was caught infringing and Anthony Floch hit a massive penalty from nearly 45mts in the corner to give the hosts a further 3pts. Minutes later Fritz showed his frustration with his fists and was given the Yellow, cool down for 10 mins was his punishment. 14 players on the park for Stade and Montpelier firing on all cylinders Jimmy Nagusa had a good run down the wing, he chipped ahead and between Floch and Trinh-Duc they seeded panic in the Toulouse defence Huget tried to clear, a huge blunder missing his kick and landing unceremoniously on his rump, and Francois Trinh-Duc needed only a fraction of a second to smash both hands on the ball. Again “Video” even more complicated this time, did the ball go in touch? Was the ball grounded? Were both players on side? Eventually, minutes later, to the frustration of thousands, as again we go upstairs the ref said “Try “. The stadium erupted, Montpellier 18 Toulouse 0, did anyone think 3 tries and the bonus point, Stade Toulouse Fanny (French for zero points scored) no of course they did not!!! But with 10 minutes to go a ball picked up by the excellent DeMarco then Jimmy the flying Fijian from his own 22, scampered down the wing aided by Trinh Duc and Benoit Sicard for the later to break the last lone defender and go under the sticks, Paillaugue added the extras which gave the bonus point to the hosts 25-0 and only 10mins to the final whistle. Stade Toulouse were not going away Fanny, they attacked the Montpellier try line, they pounded, they forced, they used every physical ounce of strength left in their bodies how many times they came inches short who knows? Montpellier defended like Heroes their bodies bruised and battered but they had closed the door and finally they got their hands on the ball and out of play it went, the ref blew for the final time, Enormous, Magnificent, and Toulouse zero points, the first time in 5 years, and it could well be another 5 years before anyone sees that again. Eight magnificent forwards plus their replacements and behind seven magnificent backs and their replacement with a Francois Trinh-Duc after his disappointing non selection, again showing why he will regain his place in the French National team, but my Man of the Match goes to Michael Ivaldi who never stopped working, he could make an excellent bank robber with the amount of stealing he got through during the afternoon, and great to see Nems Leleimalefaga back on the park after his disastrous injuries of last season. Even the General Galthie had a little Gaelic jig showing his admiration and contentment before leaving the Press Stand to congratulate his troops.!!!
Interview with AlexTulou. Montpelliers No. 8
Steve Whittell: Alex that was some game, the forwards were just magnificent, and to see Toulouse placed firmly on their rumps with zero pts.
Alex Tulou: We came into this game thinking that we had to bring the very best to the table, nothing less against a team like Toulouse, and if not you can come away with nothing. The battle upfront had to be won at all cost and to do that aggression was the key word with of course discipline. We managed to do this and whether we attacked or defended the results were good. The boys put their lives on the line today and were very courageous in all departments and well deserved victory.
Steve Whittell: There are still a few errors but a 5 pt s victory is excellent and we can grasp that with both hands and move on to Perpignan next Friday.
Alex Tulou: The 5 pts is a bonus, we were only after the win and never discussed the extra point , you don’t, especially against a team like Stade Toulouse, all the same we can be very proud of our result, but of course still being humble, the last 10mins of the game our defence was absolutely fantastic and when things like that happen it only brings the boys even closer than what we are already, this is becoming a great squad but we still have to keep working hard as this is the toughest season yet, now lets get the next game in our sights and keep going on like this, the confidence is back again, so we must bring in more and better results, but all the same today is something very special.
Steve Whittell: Cheers Alex, Just Brilliant nothing more, nothing less!!!!!!!!!!
By Steve Whittell.