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Le 29 août 2011


First game of last season Montpellier lost to Biarritz by 30-22 and collected nothing from the encounter, but went on to appear in the TOP 14 Final for the first time in the history of the club. This season under the watchful eye of Montpellier’s new President Mohed Altrad the same scenario but a different team, the first game of the season and Montpellier loose 30-22 away from home to Racing Metro in Paris, will history repeat itself?
The task will be similar to climbing Everest but not impossible the big problem is the 11 players away on World Cup duty plus a few injuries which never help the situation.
Montpellier however went to Paris for a result, but came away with nothing but regrets.
Montpellier had a brilliant start with a try from Alex Toulou, who is playing out of his skin at the moment, he left the base of the scrum on the 22 and ran under the sticks unopposed and with a Rapha Lagarde who was spot on with his place kicking and also managed a tremendous drop goal from nearly 50 mts. Montpellier were certainly giving Racing something to think about.
Montpellier stayed in front until just before halftime when Chabal passed out of the tackle for Bobo to race away and serve Chavancy on a plate to run in under the posts, Wisnieski transformed and with his 4 penalties in the first half, Racing were level with Montpellier at 19 pts each when the Ref blew for the break.
The second half was very much one way traffic with Racing coming out of the starting blocks with their forwards getting the upper hand and shoving the Montpellier pack all over the park.
Montpellier defended for long periods and when they did get the ball they were unable to make any impact on Racing and the mistakes and infringements started to creep in. Silly mistakes here and there gave Racing’s no.10 the chance to slot over another 2 penalties.
The 56th min. brought Racing’s 2nd try, Durand broke from the scrums blindside and gave Jonny Qovu the easiest of run ins and nobody stops him from that distance, Wisnieski missed the transformation. Montpellier had a very uncomfortable last 20 mins with Racing exerting buckets full of pressure on the Montpellier defence, but they tackled well and kept in touch right to the very end where Lagarde had the chance of the infamous defensive bonus point on his boot from nearly 50mts, he gave it his best shot but was literally cms short, if anything the bonus point was deserved but it did not happen and Montpellier came away with only bruises and an ego a little battered.
Benoit Paillaugue had to go off after 60 mins. with a suspected broken jaw bone but lets hope it’s not that serious, and Vassili Bost did not return after the first half, he picked up a foot injury. Rapha Lagarde must be complemented on his efforts at no.10, his kicking got Montpellier out of difficulty on many occasions, and never easy replacing Francois Trinh-Duc who is away on World Cup duty, the young winger Artru gave a good showing, twice bringing down Bobo who was at least 35 kgs. heavier, but the discipline and the elementary  mistakes were the downfall of Montpellier, if we are to progress and contend for honours this season the discipline must be corrected and the mistakes eliminated, that accomplished Montpellier will be able to move forward and progress.
Steve Whittell.