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LITTLE CHOICE LEFT FOR MONTPELLIER !

Le 18 janvier 2021

This weekend was a home game against the arch enemy Castres, a rearranged game cancelled earlier this season because of Covid-19. Games against the Tarnais have always held certain problems for Montpellier, they are not the best by far in the TOP 14, but they have a cold steel mentality which is probably the best of all our premium clubs. Many times over the past few seasons they have broken the spirit of Montpellier and gained several victories at home and away, so Montpellier will have to be on their level best if they want to win this game and move out of this very embarrassing 13th position.

The game got underway and Castres looked bright and breezy in the opening minutes but it was Montpellier who scored first with a Anthony Bouthier penalty in front of the sticks, this was quickly equalized by Benjamin Urdapilleta, score 3-3 after only 5 minuts.The game went backwards then forwards for both teams until the 13th minut when Julien Dumora squeezed into the corner of hallowed ground for the first try of the match, the extras were missed. MHR 3 Castres 8.

Montpellier reacted quickly, Gabriel Ngandebe hacked on a ball towards the try line he could not collect but Benjamin Urdapilleta slide in with his boot, the ball somehow rolled loose and Henry Immelman was their to pounce on it and score, the extras were added by Anthony Bouthier from the touch line with an excellent kick, 10-8 for Montpellier and again they took a slender lead. Anthony Bouthier added another penalty minutes later to give the boys a 5 points lead 13-8. Castres were defending and creeping forward at each play, finally the referee awarded another penalty to ease the score to 16-8 and the team could start to work on this lead and a possible win. The first yellow was awarded to Bastien Chalureau for a silly fault on the deck and Benjamin Urdapilleta obliged with another 3 points 16-11. Both kickers had their chances to score but a penalty apiece was both missed and when the referee blew for the break it was 16-11 to Montpellier.

Second half got underway and the first to score was another Anthony Bouthier penalty19-11, these penalties move the score on that is for sure but the attacking possibilities of Montpellier were fairly sterile and Castres had little trouble in keeping them out. Benjamin Urdapilleta added another penalty to keep Castres in the game 19-14 and this was beginning to look like several of Montpellier last games where a try scored by the opposition would seal the game for the visitors in the last 10 minuts of the game.

Castres worked hard to gain advantage and got themselves in an ideal position 5 meters from the Montpelier line after a series of forward crashes towards the line a very neat steal from his own player Ma'ama Vaipulu crashed over for that all important try with just 8minuts on the clock, the extras were added and Castres had a 19-21 lead for the first time in the game. The boys tried hard to score but the Castres defence held strong keeping them out, they did not even get close enough for a drop goal attempt, so when final time was given by the referee the score stayed a very dismal 19-21 for Castres and Montpellier had their 4th defeat at home. 

We can’t keep saying hard work this week in training will bring results as it does not but the confidence issue and mental stability is obviously AWOL, and this is probably Montpellier’s most negative problem. PSA has problems and its going to take an awful amount of sweat and tears to redeem everybody onboard.

Steve Whittell.