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Festive nightmare at Brive again

Le 02 janvier 2018

Yes it’s that time of year again the away game at Brive, on a good day there’s rain, snow, and normally very cold and if it’s not a good day probably worse. Montpellier have not had much joy in this bleak part of France, last season they came very close, only to fail at the last hurdle, and it’s over 5 years since a victory. Far too long, if Montpellier are going to try and reserve a Top 2 finish in a few months time.

The LNR had given a compulsory 4 days rest for all over the Christmas period, let’s hope the festive diets were kept to a limit and the boys were fresh after their mini break. Vern Cotter had made several changes for the game seeing Momo Haouas’s first start on the team sheet, if this youngster keeps his head down and works hard he can go far with the club.

The pitch was very wet with lying water, but that’s fairly normal for Brive so fast running rugby was not the order of the day, in the opening minutes Brive showed they have lost none of their aggression keeping Montpellier on their back foot and having great difficulty getting out of their own half, but they were first on the scoreboard with a Francois Steyn penalty. Their lead did not last long as Brive once again got close and after a good pummelling of the visitors try line it was the hooker Da Ros who went over from close range and the extras were added by Laranjeira 7-3 for the hosts.

Montpellier did have their chance but last effort errors stopped them from scoring, Brive had control of the game and if it was not for some good defending by Montpellier, the score at half time could have been a lot worse. Half time sore Brive 7. Montpellier 3. Montpellier was still in the game and every chance with a better second half effort they could take the 4pts from this game. The second half started with Brive showing they do not merit their position near the bottom of this season’s TOP 14. They were far too aggressive for Montpellier and won most of the battles upfront and were by far the better team on the park.

However it was Montpellier who scored first through Benjamin Fall after the forwards had created the chance near the Brive try line, Fall went over in the corner, Benoît Paillaugue added the extras 7-10, but that was their last score of the game. Montpellier created their own mistakes and on a day where simple rugby was the order of the day they tried too hard running the ball from inside their own 22 when a great big Steyn hoof would have been better. This continual off load is never great in these conditions and the simple go to ground, create the maul, and start again could have been more sensible on many of these occasions. Montpellier was playing into the hands of the Brive front five and that is never the best thing to do. Far too many first tackles were missed and this gave the Brive attack the chance to continually move forward making life very difficult for Montpellier, they added a penalty by Laranjeira to draw the two sides’ level at 10-10.

With just over 20mins left to play Brive ran riot on the Montpellier defence, two tries by the winger Megoud making his debut, and the final nail in the coffin went to Lapeyre giving the home home side the ultimate victory and the attacking bonus point to boot, 29-10  the final score. Montpellier once again leave Brive with nothing but dented pride and little festive spirit to celebrate, a long and lonely return to base.

The last game of 2017 will not be one to remember, unless the boys learn from their own mistakes which were far too many and far too often. Montpellier were Top of the Championship Saturday morning, now they are second and socks will have to be pulled up before next weeks visit of Stade Francais on Saturday the 6th ko 20.45. Another team lying lowly in the TOP 14, Montpellier need to get back to work with new spirit to acclaim this coming New Year and show their supporters how they really can play rugby. A few New Years resolutions could well be in order !!!

On a more pleasant note.


Steve Whittell.