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Ready, steady...

Le 25 juillet 2013


Yes and it’s all GO at Montpellier as they are in full swing preparing for the new season 2013/14 which starts on August the 16th with a home Gala match against reigning H Cup champions RC Toulon, KO 20.45, this game will be an all ticket full house affair, what a start to this seasons fixtures. Will we be hearing gossip about scooters !!!
Today was the first press training day of the season, at the newly named training ground Stade Eric Bechu and it looked as though the press either forgot or it was too hot as only a couple of local journo’s turned up, we will probably hear a whinge and excuses later in the season on their non appearance.
Most of the squad has been together for nearly a month now working their socks off for this new but very difficult season to come, and with the thermometer reaching highs of 36/38° the hard yards have been very hard, but the boys are doing well and the team building altitude preparation in Tignes is now beginning to bear its fruit.
The first pre-season match is the Challenge Vaquerin at St Affrique on Friday evening 26th July KO. 20.00 against newly promoted Brive, and again the following Saturday at Camares against Grenoble KO 18.00, in the same Challenge Two very important matches in the pre season preparation of Montpellier, in their bid to gain the ultimate honours in this season’s TOP 14 and H Cup. 
Coaches Galthie Ledesmas and Glas have been working hard with combinations and getting the new players into I can understand French mode, which is never easy, but the season will not be easy and as usual Fabien Galthie will be as meticulous as ever, that is why he is one of the best, and with the help of his two able assistants Montpellier have absolutely no excuses for failure.
Steve Whittell.

Interview with Jim Hamilton, Montpellier’s new Scottish International 2nd row signing from Sale Sharks.

SW. Firstly Jim welcome to Montpellier how are you settling in ?
JH. Great thank you everyone has been so helpful which makes things a lot easier to concentrate on the job in hand that is rugby, but I must admit it gets pretty warm here hopefully I will get used to it soon.
SW.  a summer tour in South Africa  which gave you perfect preparation for this seasons TOP 14.
JH. Without doubt I am ready and raring to go this is an absolutely brand new challenge for me and I can’t wait for it to start, especially as the first match of the season is against Toulon H Cup holders could you have a better starting fixture than that this will be tremendous. A great team with some outstanding players but I here there is more than just a little competition when Toulon come to town, I have heard rumours of scooters and other stories so it should be an excellent start to what could be a tremendous season.
SW. You will have an advantage as in Toulon there is an awful lot of English spoken so you will have no problems understanding and maybe good enough to steal a bit of their line out ball. How is the French coming along, are you getting any help from your friend and fellow Scot, one of Montpellier’s No. 8’s Jonnie Beattie.
JH. As usual Jonnie is taking an extended holiday, but he is giving me plenty of pointers, my wife is not bad at French so she is helping as well, but we have come here not just for the rugby, we have come for the culture and everything that is French, we are prepared to live the life of a French people so I am trying my hardest with the language but it is not easy and you never know in a couple of months we could be doing another interview, but this time in French!!!
SW. Be careful Jim I might hold you to that. You have obviously been doing a few touch combinations, are you finding it difficult?
JH. Yes it is a little difficult to start with as I have been used to calling the line outs back in the UK, you then come here and have to concentrate really hard to make sure you don’t misunderstand with the language being different ,but I don’t want them to accommodate me, I should be accommodating the team so on that level I need to get up to speed fairly quickly with all the calls but at the end of the day its all about rugby and that is the main reason I came here. The season can not come quicker enough for me; this is going to be one very exciting season.
SW. Cheers Big Jim and the very best of luck with the start of the season, and I am sure we will be talking again in the very near future and maybe in French, just keep up that French homework.
Interview by Steve Whittell..