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Le 24 janvier 2011


A very cold Saturday evening, Montpellier was hosting Exeter Chiefs in the final pool 3 game of this seasons Amlin Challenge Cup. Montpellier pool leaders on 17pts and Exeter Chiefs just 2 pts. behind on 15pts, everything to play for, but the real prize a ¼ final place.
Exeter Chiefs were bringing their very best and it was obvious to all that they were coming to Montpellier thinking only of a win, it was going to be up to the home side to make sure that the Stade Yves du Manoir stayed intact and Montpellier carried on their unbeaten home run  so far this season.
The Chiefs had brought plenty of support with them and colourful it was, Red Indian Head dress was to be seen in all parts of the ground.
Exeter Chiefs did not disappoint, from the off their forwards showed bundles of aggressivity and were throwing the ball around the park at every occasion, their first try came in the 6th minute from fullback Arscott, who launched himself over the line after excellent work by Naqelevuki  who became an ever increasing menace to Montpellier throughout the game.
 The Chiefs winger Matt Jess added another try in the 22nd min. and the visitors were moving along nicely, Montpellier had the accurate boot of Raphael Lagarde who just about kept them in touch throughout the first half, and it was not till Seb Kuzbik finished off an excellent move to go over into the hallowed ground bringing Montpellier back into contention, the score at the pause for les citrons Montpellier 13 Exeter Chiefs 17.
The Gentle Giant and the General (Bechu Galthie) did not spend the 10 min interval singing the praises of their team quite the contrary, stern words were spoken in no uncertain terms.
Montpellier came out for the 2nd half with much more pace and aggression they were playing at home with pride at stake.
Exeter Chiefs did not seem interested in the home teams pride and off they went again under the sticks, this time Matt Jess getting his second try of the night. Montpellier hung in there and the beautiful boot of Lagarde kept the scoreboard ticking over, but the Chiefs were still in the lead, a spear tackle by Bryan Rennie in the 67th min saw the referee wave yellow and the Chiefs were down to 14 men for the next 10mins.
A chink of light was given to Montpellier and they took advantage with an excellent try by Quentin Doumayrou after a perfectly timed pass from Vassili Bost, 5 mins to go and Montpellier get their noses in front for the first time in the match 32-30.
The Chiefs pounded the Montpellier try line for the next 10mins. getting closer and closer, a penalty, a drop goal, everyone was thinking the same, pick and go, pick and go, the pressure was steaming, and finally the drop goal attempt came, JUST WIDE, the dream continues; a ¼ final place for Montpellier no doubt against Stade Francais in Paris.
The dejection was plain to see on the faces of the losing chiefs, so near yet so far, but tonight they gained enormous bucketfuls of respect, a team with no stars, a small budget but an enormously huge heart, a credit to the club  Bravo gentlemen!!!
The lap of Honour was joyful but very tearful for a certain Michel Macurdy who has played his last game for Montpellier, coming on in the 2nd half, as always he gave his all, and a more loyal servant to the club you will not find anywhere. We wish him the very best for his new adventure in Carcassonne and will be watching the results of his new club closely. THANK YOU MICHEL MACURDY.
Steve Whittell.