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MONTPELLIER SHOWS STRENGH IN DEPTH
Le 13 février 2013
The first 6 Nations weekend where the TOP 14 were also playing at the same time, hence all the teams were without their Internationals, obviously that included Montpellier who were missing 5 International players plus several in the infirmary and the visit of Biarritz on Saturday evening, who are a team never easy to contain, and as they had no calls ups on the International scene they were more or less at full strength, a difficult proposition. The match was the Canal + Gala screening of Saturday night, a very cold night with temperature in the minus which had probably an effect on the 9,789 crowd who preferred to watch from the comfort and warmth of their armchairs, plus the France v Wales game kicked off just a couple of hrs. before. With the 6 Nations season in progress there was a different line up for Montpellier with Remy Martin, Lucas Amorosino, Paul Bosch all wanting to impress as they have had little game time of recent.
The match was played at a fast pace with both teams playing good rugby, a few mistakes were made but that could be put down to the very cold weather and icy wind that was blowing through the Stadium. Benoit Paillaugue was the first on the score board but that was quickly wiped out by the Yach, but Benoit got another chance which he took well, 6-3 to the home side. Then the first of several outrageous decisions by Mon Lafon, firstly a ball was carried back into the Biarritz 22, which no one saw, and from the next line out the ball was passed through the backs with a incredulously forward pass which again no one saw (that is bar most of the 9,000 crowd) for the ref to award a try, even the Trillo was a gasp for words in his make shift studio at the top of the Eden Park Stand. This was not his only mistake our man in the middle was at least very consistent in that area. Just before half time Montpellier had an attacking scrum just 5mts out and with wisdom and agility the Little Big Man, Benoit Paillaugue scampered over unopposed for Montpellier’s first try of the game which he himself added the extras. Half time score Montpellier 13 Biarritz 10.
The second half saw Biarritz quickly run out of petrol and with their tank more or less dry they could only defend, Montpellier’s second try was from a Santi Fernandez dummy, the break and then a perfect pass to the Flying Fijian, Nagusa for him to score with ease, but please Jimmy put the ball down straight away, all this show boating will one day bring disastrous results!!! The third try was a bit of a mystery as the Ref awarded a 5mts. scrum for Montpellier, they won the ball but Biarritz collapsed, and the ref went straight under the posts for the penalty try, normally there are at least 3 scrums before the penalty try is awarded maybe it was his way of apologising for all his earlier mistakes, that we will never know. MBM added the extras but the bonus point was not obtained, a win with key players missing is an excellent victory and 4 pts for Montpellier will do no harm especially as the top 3 teams all lost this weekend..
Although Paillaugue was awarded Man of the Match, the two Alex’s Bias and Tulou + Remy Martin all played a tremendous part in this victory, Hancke came on at the end to win line out ball and as per usual Paul Bosch but his head in places where he should not and tackled like a demon in defence ( you only had to witness his face at the end of the game, battered!!!). Thibault Privat, had to go to hospital at half time after a forearm smash across the face and will probably be carrying a broken nose, missed by our beloved ref again !!!! The most important evidence of this game was that even with key players missing and a team that had not played that often together, got on with the job in hand , with good solid work in all quarters and still showing brilliance in others especially Santi at 10. The squad system at Montpellier works, but works very well Congratulations to all concerned. Final Score Montpellier 33 Biarritz 10.
Pith side interview with Paul Bosch Montpellier’s South African centre.
Steve Whittell: Paul under the circumstance that was a good game, and an excellent win for Montpellier.
Paul Bosch: There were a lot of mistakes during the game but yes we came out winners in the end, there is definitely room for improvement this was not our best game but we will take it all the same. Monday will probably be back to the drawing board and see where we went wrong and why we did not get the bonus point; there will be plenty for us to work on before next weeks game against Toulon. A lot of the boys came up to the mark today even though they had not had much game time, and the opposition is full of great players so at the end the win is good for us and will do absolutely no harm to the team moral.
Steve Whittell: We were missing key players in the team on International duty, even so the boys rallied together and produced the goods which goes to show that Montpellier have great strength in depth, and can call on all the squad to perform when they have to.
Paul Bosch: The guys really came up to mark today and showed that you can rely on them, of course we miss our top boys but at least the guys who replaced them did well and honoured their absence, everybody showed guts today and even a little class now and then, it was never going to be easy and it was not, but we came good in the end.
Steve Whittell: Cheers Paul, go and have a beer you deserve it!!!.
Interview by Steve Whittell.