The very last home game of the season v Bayonne and the relegation and play-off places are still undecided, one of the following, Pau, Bayonne, or Montpellier could be involved in a barrage game to stay in the TOP 14 for next season, Montpellier are nearly out of the woods but a disaster could happen today, and in the last game of the season v Pau, these two games could be the most important in the club’s history. A victory today could see the boys out of the danger area and absolute safety.
As they say “winning ugly is just as good as winning with rugby Champagne” 4 pretty points and all the troubles of this season will be will be left in a tight corner of every bodies minds, but the pressure will be off and Montpellier will go to Pau for the last game of the season with a clear head and a massive wish for another victory.
Montpellier selected a very strong team for this match in front for the first time of 1,000 supporters who did their best to make as much noise as possible to urge the boys on, in their quest for victory.
The match itself was a ragged affair, plenty of mistakes, some shoddy defence, but the excitement was evident as Bayonne had come to win this game trying to squeeze out of their end of season mayhem of a barrage game, Montpellier knew victory today was all that mattered so ugly rugby with victory was good enough, the tension was enormous and maybe that was the reason for the dropped balls and other small infringements that are normally brushed aside on the training pitch.
Montpellier did what they set out to do, that was win this game with 2 tries to one, the first by Becognee after he was shoved over by the pack and the second by Jan Serfontein who used his immense strength to get him over the line, both converted by Handre Pollard the penalties were shared 3 apiece plus a drop goal for Bayonne and their only converted try was scored by D’aymeric Luc. The scores at the final whistle, 23-19, the winning 4 points. for Montpellier and Bayonne did take home a deserved defensive bonus point, giving them a better chance of survival than Pau.
Mission accomplished and you could see the relief on the players and staffs faces, but survival was what this game was all about, the Euro Challenge Cup victory the week before v Leicester certainly gave the Boys the encouragement they needed to get over this very difficult hurdle, but they did exactly that and fight for another day, my Man of the Match was Jan Serfontein who defended like a lion and his attacking skills were there for everybody to see, breaking tackles every time he got his hands on the ball plus scoring one of the Montpellier tries.
The interesting factor is Montpellier could do Bayonne a huge favour next weekend if they beat Pau, but Bayonne also have their own destiny in their hands as a victory v Stade Francais would keep them in the TOP 14 next season, Pau would be playing the barrage game against the loser of the ProD2 final next weekend which is in the GGL stadium Montpellier.
The final words came from PSA; yes we have survived to play TOP 14 rugby next season but we will not be going to participate next weekend, we will be going to play to win this game v Pau ! Not the greatest season in Montpellier’s history but they won the Euro Challenge Cup, there were teams from all over Europe at the start and at the finish only 2 were left, Montpellier and Leicester, victory 18-17 for Montpellier so there is something very positive to take to next season, Euro Champions Cup participation reserved for the top 6, which is no mean feat considering events of this closing season.
There are many teams who finished above Montpellier in the Championship but have nothing to show for it, we can still enjoy the Euro Challenge Cup silverware sitting in the club’s Trophy Cabinet.