MONTPELLIER’S V8 STARTS TO PURRRR !
Lundi 03 Septembre 2012
Montpellier were hosts this week to Agen who after 2 defeats came looking for points which they desperately needed, on the other hand Montpellier wanted to continue their home success after the great victory against Clermont last weekend. All was set for an enthralling encounter, a cool dry evening with a strong breeze blowing on the backs of the home side for the first half. Agen started well and were soon on the board after an early penalty from Barnard, (7th min) but that was quickly wiped out after Benoit Paillaugue thumped one over for Montpellier. Montpellier started to come into the game, the forwards getting the upper hand in the scrums and in the loose play, several charges by numerous players resulted unfortunately in little as errors crept in at the last moment and the home side were denied the tries that they started to deserve, but the play was good and it was only a matter of time before Montpellier got themselves on the score board, they were aided by Erbani who had only been on the park for 60 secs. and off he went, receiving a yellow and 10mins. in the cooler for his misdeeds. After an excellent move by the forwards who made good ground Giorgi Jgenti popped out and bulldozed himself over the line for his first score of the season, Paillaugue added the extras, 10-3 for Montpellier when the players left the park for the pause.
The second half was pure rugby and most of it was performed by Montpellier, wave after wave of running rugby and everybody sensed that the Agen defence was slowly crumbling under the pressure of the purring V8 engine called the forwards. Their efforts were giving the backs plenty of scope to use the ball to the utmost, a chip kick by Trinh-Duc, Nagusa gathered and slipped the ball to Matt Carraro who dived over, Trinh-Duc kicked an excellent transformation from the touchline; he replaced Paillaugue for the kicking duties who had also changed with Julien Tomas. Next on the score sheet was Jimmy Nagusa after an excellent effort by all and over he went 3 tries to nil and for the moment the bonus point in the bag, but the match was not over, another 12 mins. to play. The best was saved till last, Montpellier had a touch 5mts out, after a penalty by Trinh-Duc the forwards split into 2 groups Mamuka Gorgodze caught and fed Julien Tomas coming through the gap at TVG speed, unstoppable, over he went just a little celebration by all, players and supporters even the staff got a little excited, remember the try the All Blacks scored in the final against France, well this was the same but only better.
Barnard did add 4 penalties for Agen but it was not enough and Agen went home pointless and troubled thoughts for the new staff of Sella and Blin. Final score Montpellier 32 Agen 15.
The Montpellier pack were in great form and they worked very well as a unit giving quick and clean ball for the backs to work with, Alex Tulou just about got man of the match, pipping Mamuka Gorgodze by a short head, but he was not the only one, it could have gone to any of the forwards, they all deserved a pat on the back, the centre partnership of Carraro and Hape is beginning to bear fruit and JP Peyras had a solid game at full back. The youngster Artru did well on the wing as it was his first showing his season and his confidence will build with game time under his belt.
Next week things will be much tougher with a visit to Biarritz who are sitting pretty in first place in this seasons TOP 14, but last season Montpellier came away with a great victory and who says history is not going to repeat itself if they play like this weekend they certainly will have a chance against Biarritz.
Pitch side interview with Alex Tulou.
SW: Alex, first half a lot of mistakes but we came good in the second half, and you played a very active part while you were on the park.
AT: We came out and did not get under way straight away, but after 20mins or so things started to happen, we were missing a bit of intensity that we had last week from the kick off but we did get the job done and that is the main positive of the day The mistakes we certainly made but we gave ourselves plenty of opportunities so it had to come good eventually.
SW: You are starting to find your form you thing you are still around 90%.
AT: Definitely I still have a little way to go, I have a small problem with my calves but its no big thing and in a couple of week I should be more or less there and then watch out as we play the sort of game I love and hopefully I should come into my own, but we are starting to play the game that Montpellier are renowned for, that is fast and furious rugby but next week against Biarritz away it will not be easy.
SW: What did you think to the last try by Julien?
AT: Enormous it’s the sort of thing you practice on the training park and rarely does it come off, but Mamuka brought all his experience to the table great catch and the pass to Julien coming through the middle like a train, well worked and well deserved the icing on the cake after an excellent team effort.
SW: You need to be careful Mamuka could be gunning for your post.
AT: You know competition for places in the team is good and I like everybody else try and commit to working for the team, that is the only way that we can go forward, never has one player ever won a game the better we are as a unit the better the results will be and who knows where the our limits are!! I also think that with competition for places it increases the commitment in the group which unfolds in the atmosphere and camaraderie and this can only be a good thing.
SW: Cheers Alex go join the rest of the boys and well done.
Interview by Steve Whittell.