MONTPELLIER CONSOLIDATE 3rd PLACE….
Promoted USAP were the visitors this weekend to the GGL Stadium, the last TOP14 game before Christmas, so the boys were looking to stay in 3rd position up and until Christmas arrives. For those with memories we all remember what happened the last time they came to Montpellier, having lost every game in the Championship they left with a victory firmly in their pockets so they have to be taken very seriously and given maximum respect.
The first half did not show any great expectations Montpellier had most of the possession but could not get into the hallowed ground; however that was down to some excellent defending from USAP, who laid their bodies on the line to keep their try line virginal. There were just 2 penalties apiece from Paolo Garbisi and Melvin Jaminet in the first 40mins, but Montpellier did show their domination in mauls, rucks, and line outs, keeping their own ball but some good steals from the forwards kept Montpellier in a high percentage of possession. With Jaminet on great form either with club or country, the boys would have to be very careful of their discipline as this boy can knock over penalties from anywhere out of 60mts, his last was just short of that 60mts and it passed the sticks with ease so beware discipline super important against this team.
When the ref finally blew for the break the teams were glued together at 6pts. apiece not the greatest of local derbies but that often happens; the bragging rights are always of a certain importance.
The second half got under way and PSA’s words at half time would have been fairly harsh as with all that ball Montpellier did not have much to show on their score line. The 41st min. and a high ball that Anthony Bouthier had well in his control, Alan Brazo thought different and he blatantly obstructed Bouthier in the air, the ref had no options but produce the yellow biscuit and give the USAP forward 10mins. in the cooler.
Now Perpignan with one player short for the next 10mins, Montpellier had chances to capitalise and minutes later they did exactly that, after a line out the ball was won by Montpellier they advanced down the park, quick ruck and Corbus Reinach served the young Pierre Lucas who carried the ball forward, Dukawaqa took on several opposition defenders still moving forwards and the final ball went to Vincent Rattez who crossed the line for the first try of the game, Paolo Garbisi added the extras and the first mini break had been made 13-6 for the good guys.
Three mins. later Montpellier were on the move again this time Jan Serfontein Capt. for the day a well deserved choice, carried the ball forward, chip kicked the ball forward towards the touch line where the young promising Pierre Lucas gathered beat the last2 defenders and went over for his first try for his club, again Paolo Garbisi added the extras and the real break had been cemented, the score moving on to 20-6.
The game had become one way traffic it was all Montpellier, and USAP could only defend, they did this well but at any moment the flood gates could be opened by Montpellier. Garbisi added another penalty to give Montpellier 23-6 lead. USAP did get over the try line a kick that went through Garbis’s legs, he turned, sprinted, never giving up and managed an astonishing tackle on Rodor keeping the ball above ground, the ref had a good look at the video and decided that the ball was never grounded so no try, determination from Garbisi which just goes to show what can be done in these dangerous positions.
The game continued with Montpellier well on top but still looking for that all important 3try to zero bonus point, they came close but it was not happening for them. Finally in the 77th min an early Christmas pressie for Montpellier, Acebes threw the ball out from a ruck near their own try line, it went to over the try line Deghmache missed the ball and the young Anbin Eymeri who had replaced Reinach at scrum half dived on the pigskin, he will never score an easier try, thankyou Perpignan and a Happy Christmas to you as well!!! Handre Pollard added the extras game over
Montpellier 30 Perpignan 6, and 5 very precious points for the boys. From the restart the ball was gathered and the very same Eymeri sent it high into the stands, match won and Montpellier stay in 3rd place till at least after Christmas.
The next two weeks are Champions Cup games, first away to Exeter then home to Leinster, if Montpellier are to advance they will have to play their very best as these two teams are formidable opposition, but why not a good European run will do nothing but good for moral in the cold dark months of winter.