NOT 4 BUT 5 BRILLIANT POINTS !
This weekend is another postponed Covid game and the opposition Stade Francais, times are looking desperate for Montpellier and we are really in need of a win to get back into better times, just one victory would boost the confidence of the boys after a run of pretty bad results.
The injury list is huge with a dozen or more in the infirmary and adding to that the first round of 6 Nations this weekend so another 6 players were also on International duty, but that does give some of the players who are not automatic picks a chance to shine and impress.
The weather was not great it started dry and cloudy but it was not long before the heavens opened and both teams struggled under a massive downpour making handling the pigskin a nightmare.
Montpellier were quickly on the scoreboard, touch on the Stade 5mts. line, a long throw over the 15mts line, Jan Serfontein collected and slipped the inside ball to Vincent Martin who arrived at full tilt, taking 3 defenders over into the hallowed ground with him, Capt La Paille added the extras 7-0 to the boys, excellent start to the game. La Paille slotted a penalty mins. later, but a couple of infringements gave Stade 6 points. 10-6. Benoit Paillaugue added another 3 points for Montpellier to take the lead to 13-6 just before a piece of brilliance by Corbus Reinach who was very alert on the Montpellier 22 line when the ball screwed out of a maul near the touch line, he gathered and at speed left everyone standing, rounded the Stade full back with ease and under the sticks he went, Capt Paille added the extras, 20-6 with lots of light now between the two teams. He then added another penalty just before half time and when the ref blew for the break the score, 23-6 surely this was commanding enough not to throw it away in the last 10mins.
What Montpellier needed to do was to come out in the second half and secure a bonus point, increasing the pressure on Stade and collect the full 5 points. available.
The rain was pouring down for the second half and this was going to make life difficult for both teams and an awful amount of kicking started creeping into the game, but the battle of the boot was more efficient from Montpellier while Stade’s was less admirable.
Little scoring was done in the last 40mins but Henri Immelman soared a 50mts attempt through the sticks to take the score onto 26-6, with just 20mins. Left on the clock, this has been the problem time for Montpellier during the last dozen or so games, if they wanted to progress then united as a team will be the only way forward surely this was their hour for glory.
There was still the bonus point issue to be solved, yes ok a win would do but why not try for 5 when it was fairly obvious that this game was already won and the 4 points in the pocket.
After a couple of penalties Montpellier were camped in the Stade 22 line, a penalty touch 5mts. out saw the forwards rumble towards the line, the ball came out and one pass to Vincent Martin and over he went, La Paille missed the extras but the bonus point was there with just 3 mins. left on the clock, defend was the order of the day and the boys did just that bodies were thrown on the line and Stade had no answer to the Montpellier brick wall, finally the clock hit 80 and the ball was sent out of play Montpellier had their first victory in several weeks.
You could see how much this meant to our players, frustration over and confidence renewed, hopefully for more than the next week before the visit next Sat. to Castres, but whatever happens next week the boys will go to Castres with confidence and an entirely different attitude.
They say good things come in threes, well!
France beat Italy
Scotland beat England
And more importantly Montpellier beat Stade with a 5 point victory, is there a better way to finish off a Saturday evening, I don’t thing so !
Maybe the pancakes and Cider worked well last week for the Shrove Tuesday pancake day !
Man of the Match was Benoit Paillaugue he filled the no.10 shirt with authority then switched back to no.9 late in the second half, using all his power and strength, he muscled his troops forward throughout the 80mins and never stopped the team momentum during the entire game from moving forward, wearing a small size shirt but a huge man inside it.