TRENCH RUGBY AT ITS FINEST
Jeudi 30 Décembre 2010
Between Christmas and the New Year Montpellier were hosting the Basques from Biarritz, an early evening kick off in front of an excellent festive crowd of 13,323, the first of the return matches in this seasons TOP 14, and a very difficult task at that. The Basques were having a fine run of form before the Christmas break, and Montpellier would need to be at their very best to continue their undefeated home run.
It was fairly obvious from the start that the Gentle Giant and the General (Bechu, Galthie) had changed the formula for this evenings game, with wet and slippery conditions this was going to be an all forward affair, Biarritz have an excellent pack so the home team would have their backs to the wall to contain them for the full 80 minutes.
The game was start by Montpellier who were the first to show with total domination by the forwards, but this time there were no balls out wide it was drive after drive by the big boys upfront, and Biarritz were finding no solutions to stop the home pack.
The faults started to creak in the Basque defence and Martin Bustos-Moyano was there with his trusty boot never faltering and Montpellier soon had their noses in front 6-0.
In the 17th min. Francois Trinh-Duc latched onto a fine interception after Biarritz had won a lineout and raced 60mts to dive under the sticks for an excellent try which was well deserved after all the early pressure that Montpellier had applied, the try was converted by our Argentinean who also added 2 more penalties before half time with only a penalty from Peyrelongue to show for the visitors and at the break for lemons, the score 19-3 to Montpellier.
The second half was an entirely different story, you are never going to keep a team like Biarritz under wraps for long and with some intelligent coaching they started to get on top and Montpellier were defending for their lives. A yellow card for Santiago Fernandez which was a mystery, and 3 points added by the now scrum half Peyrelongue started the revival, they scored their try in the 60th min. after a clever move which saw Bolakoro go over the whitewash and Peyrelongue duly added the extras, moving the score onto 19-13.
A full 20mins to play, this game was for the brave, and Biarritz took the initiative pounding the Montpellier try line, but Montpellier stood firm, tackle after tackle was made and everybody was defending for their very existence, bodies on the line and not one player shirked his duties. Montpellier ventured once into the Basque half and got the penalty they needed, Bustos-Moyano did everything that was asked and added the 3 points, just a little breathing space but still 10mins to go!!!
Biarritz threw all they had at Montpellier, it was old fashioned Trench Rugby at its very best, blood, guts, and thunder was left on the playing field, but no way was Montpellier going to yield and yield they did not, heroic defence which supporters had not seen for years, but they also got behind their favourites with blasts of “Allez Les Bleus” which would have made the French National team proud.
In the dying seconds Traille kicked a drop goal to pocket the bonus point, but victory was Montpellier’s. Final score Montpellier 22 Biarritz 16.
Players dropped to their knees with exhaustion, but with huge smiles on their faces, one of the toughest games they will ever play, but a victory that they thoroughly deserved and thanks to a pack of MAGNIFICENT forwards who never took one step backwards. This is a team that is slowly building a spirit that will take them on a long and fruitful road, dedication and workload is coming to the surface, Montpellier are proving to the French Rugby World that they are here to stay.