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UNTHINKABLE !!!!!!

Lundi 11 Mars 2013

 

The H Cup paid a visit to Montpellier on Friday night, photographed on the pitch pre match with a selection of the Pro and administration staff; it was then transferred upstairs for the sponsors and partners to have their chance. You could read the thoughts on every bodies faces, when was Montpellier going to get their name on this sacred trophy sooner than later hopefully. The club has invested heavily in overseas and home produced Internationals hoping that next season could be Montpellier’s year, but after the game on Friday evening against Racing Metro 92 a certain amount of doubt could be coming to the surface. Toulon did exactly the same a couple of seasons ago a star studded team but at the end of the season no H Cup qualification, this surely cannot happen to our beloved, Montpellier are not there yet, but took a massive step backwards going down to Racing by 15-17, the defensive bonus point was obtained but that is not enough, depending on Saturdays results Montpellier could find themselves in the very unsavoury 7th place and struggling to qualify for next seasons H Cup. There are just 5 games left before the ¼ final play-offs, 2 at home, Toulouse and Perpignan, and 3 away, Grenoble, Mont de Marsan and Bayonne, somewhere along that ending journey there needs to be no more loses at home and 2 out of 3 wins away, not an easy task. Racing with 7 wins on the trot came looking for an 8th and they brought a big team with a huge pack of forwards, and their backs were not too shabby either, they were not coming for the ride. The evening had a look of Argentinean Tango about it, with 9 of the countries players present plus of course coaches Ledesma and Quesada. Montpellier on the other hand, decimated by injuries plus the International absenteeism for the 6 Nations A and B fielded a team with a look that has not been seen so far this season.
 
The first half was all Racing and they produced two fine attacking tries which left the Montpellier defence at sixes and sevens, Ollie Barclay was having an off day with the boot which did help the home side somewhat, but at the break Racing were ahead 3-17, Montpellier had already lost Thibault Privat and Jimmy Nagusa to injury, when it rains it pours, the home side could be looking at building an extension to their infirmary if the situation does not get any better. Words were said at half time and Montpellier did come out with a different face on. Benoit Paillaugue playing at 10 slotted 5 penalties missing only one, and that one was from long range, but with much more aggressiveness Montpellier tried their very best to get on level terms with Racing but a well organised defence kept the home side out throughout the last 40 mins. The Ref Mon. Raynal had to be stretchered off with a double fracture of his left leg after a very awkward fall; the assistant ref took the whistle. You know when things are not going your way, there was confusion when Galletier came off the bench, firstly it was Alex Bias who was replaced then the coach decided to bring off Alex Tulou, seconds later Bias went down with a massive cramp and also left the playing field, Charles Geli the replacement hooker had to join the back row just another piece of bad luck for Montpellier. How ever hard Montpellier tried it just would not happen and they finally had to satisfy themselves with one very small point, after spending the last 10 mins. camped on the Racing try line.
 
The next match is away to Grenoble on the 23rd of March, no less than a win, or complications may arise. The team is off on a rebuilding and confidence preparation in the alpine mountains of Tignes, somehow I do not think that snowballing or building snowmen will be on Fabien Galthie’s agenda, running up and down mountains at speed could be his plat du jour !!!!! 
 
Steve Whittell.