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All onboard for a new MHR adventure

Le 07 août 2017

Montpellier spent last week in the cool of the Pyrenees Mountains charging their batteries for another long and arduous season of TOP 14 matches combined with the Euro Champions Cup, probably the best place to be as temperatures were hitting 40+degrees on the Med coastline.

This was Vern Cotters first Montpellier outing with his new staff and his players, a 5 day  bonding session which has become the pre season norm in Pro rugby clubs in recent years, and low and behold not a mention of  Bunnygate by television, radio, or written press so the first hurdle has been passed with flying colours. The squad descended from their mountain retreat arriving in Millau, (home of the magnificent Foster Bridge) for their first pre season training game v Lyon. Temperatures heading towards the 40,s were not going to help the players of both teams and the very fact that it was a 20.00 ko. did help but this was going to be a very tough evening. Montpellier fielded a mixture of youth and experience for their first preseason game, whereas Lyon had brought a very strong squad and this was already their 3rd pre season game, so they were already on their way to be moreorlesss where they wanted to be by the time the 25/26 August comes around. Montpellier showed that they needed more work upfront but also with some of the younger players it was their very first experience at this Elite level, this was by no means the team that would be fielded at the start of the new season The game itself produced a showing of strong attack and a very serious and efficient scrum from Lyon, they gave Montpellier a very difficult evening upfront, and nearly all their 6 tries came from set pieces or line outs, catch, ruck and move forward, in fact Montpellier had a very long training session on how to defend for long periods of time. Unfortunately Montpellier were out gunned in their first match and suffered a heavy defeat by a very on form Lyon who are going to provide a few upsets amongst the Elite this season, and it was obvious to see they were hungry for a top 6 finishing place but we are a long way from there yet, and they will not be the only team pushing for honours by the time the month of May comes around. Montpelllier were far short of their first team choice but you are only as good as the team on the park and probably a certain lack of experience did show and of course Lyon capitalised on this using their superior strength up front and as everybody knows “no scrum no win.”

Montpellier will certainly be addressing this first match come Monday morning with a video session that may not be the best Monday morning that some players have experienced but these games are for that very reason to see exactly what the coach has to work with for this coming season. There were plenty of positives to take from this game, Francois Steyn who arrived only 4 days ago after playing test rugby in South African was his usual very professional self throughout the match, and a very proud moment for RomainRuffanach who was named Captain for this first match of the pre season. Next Friday 11th August the 2nd pre season game is at St Affrique, KO. 20.00 in the Challenge Vaquerin and the  opposition Newport Dragons the Welsh team who operate in the  Anglo Pro 12 (soon to become the Pro 14, which will include 2 South African teams) so if you have a free evening take a trip to St Affrique to watch Montpellier on their second outing.



Millau, Parc des sports

Mi-temps : 12 – 21

Arbitre : Mr Charabas

Temps beau et chaud

Spectateurs : 3,500 environ


Pour Montpellier : 2  essais Fall (31) Piennar (39e) 1 transformation Piennar (39e)

Pour Lyon : 6 essais Gill (8e) Fearns (17e) Puricelli (36e) Regard (58e) Tuifua (65e) Ivaldi (74e) 5 transformations Michalak (8e,  17e,36e) Dominguez (65e,  74e)


Montpellier : Fichten, Ruffenach (cap), Houas, Delannoy (Mikautadze 31e), Van Rensburg, Komath,  Liebenberg,Devergie, Piennar (m) , Darmon (o), Tomane, Steyn, Immelman, Fall, Michel

Entrés en  jeu : B du Plessis, Mikautadze, Paget, Paillaugue, Thomas, Watremez, Ouedraogo, Reilhac, G  Galletier, N’Gandebe, Sese, Nariashvili


Lyon : Menini, Lacombe, Gomez, Kodela, Bekhuis, Roodt, Puricelli,Gill, Fearns, Michalak (m)  Beauxis (o) Palisson, Seguret, Wulf, Mignot, Armitage,

Entrés en jeu : Fourie, Cretin, Regard, Rokoduru, Papidze,  Dominguez, Zafra, Ivaldi, Van der  Merve, Buckle, Ric, Tuifua, Tuva.


Steve Whittell.