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MONTPELLIER’S EURO CAMPAIGN ALREADY OVER.

Le 21 décembre 2020

The second game in this season’s Euro campaign and the opposition is Wasps who were based just outside London but now play in Coventry, runners up in last season’s Premiership competition and formidable opponents, and of course the natural love of playing a French team always adds a little more spice to the game. As with previous weeks the stadiums are still empty and sounding hollow due to the Virus which has postponed several matches this weekend.

The game started with a massive disaster for Montpellier, Henri Immelman just back from a long term injury hit a Garryowen in the 7th min. he chased and hit the receiver, his tackle was deemed high by ref Andrew Brace and after several looks at the video he was given his marching orders with a red card, yes he did contact the neck and head region but the player was crouching slightly so the decision was a little harsh, a yellow would have been a fairer result, that was not to be and Montpellier were down to 14 players after just 6mins.

The task becomes almost impossible with so little time on the clock and having to chase and defend for approx. 76mins is like having to climb mountains barefooted. Obviously Wasps were going to throw the ball all over the park and make Montpellier defend and tire at the same time, this they did but the boys threw their bodies on the line and defended well, Wasps could only manage 2 tries in the first half to one from Lozowski after a steal on the half way line.

All in all to be only 12-7 down at half time was a very good result so far for Montpellier, they had battled hard for the first 40, the other disaster was an injury to our petit prince Louis Forsans, already the no.10’s at Montpellier are filling the infirmary and now another 10 just to give the coaches, headaches and plenty to think about.

The second half got underway and it was again much of the same, Wasps running and kicking the ball all over the park and Montpellier trying to defend to their upmost but getting very tired as one man short at this level is just not possible and sooner or later the defence wall will break. However Montpellier did take the lead with a try from Reilhac as he ran in unopposed after some good work from the forwards La Paille converted and Montpellier had a 12-14 lead. This was short lived as Wasps mounted the pressure and ran in a further 3 tries all converted to gain the attacking bonus point and the full 5pts for the victory 33-14. Montpellier did try their level best but the task was just too difficult with only 14 players on the park.

When the final whistle was blown for the end of the game it was also the end of Montpellier’s Euro campaign as 2 defeats from 2 is not enough and the remaining 2 games will have little interest for them. Montpellier have never had a great run in Europe, they have qualified just once for the quarters and were beaten by Clermont, so the wait will have to be until next season to see if one day they can have a good run in this competition, but we did win the Challenge Cup a couple of season’s ago under Jake White and nobody can take that away from the boys, hopefully one day we will have the big one.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL HAVE A GOOD ONE !

Steve Whittell.