BAYONNE HIT FOR SIX !!!
Lundi 31 Mars 2014
Spring officially came upon us on Saturday evening, this is a good sign for some excellent weather, but it is not the only place were the heat has been turned up, with just 3, TOP 14 days left the French Championship is getting close to boiling point.
Saturday Montpellier was hosts to Bayonne, a team struggling for points and hoping not to finish like their neighbours Biarritz. in the Pro D2 next season. Bayonne had nothing to loose and all to gain; they came looking for points to get themselves out of the very sticky situation at the depths of the elite French Championship. There was a very healthy crowd of 12,127, in excellent voice, who were behind the home side on every occasion possible. Montpellier had made 2 last minute changes to their selection, drafting onto the bench Lobo and Chale-Watchou who replaced Fa’anunu and Sicart. The match was only minutes old, when after some good forwards pressure Jimmy Nagusa got himself on the score sheet from close range, Pelissie added the extras.
Bayonne had not come to make up the numbers and they were throwing the ball about with expertise and created allsorts of havoc in the Montpellier defence, and they very quickly got themselves back on track with a fine try from Joe Rokocoko, after some good work from Spedding and Marvin O’Connor, Ugalde converts and the scores moved to 7-7. The game flowed from end to end and there was some good fast rugby being played, Montpellier attacked whenever they could and Alex Bias served Alex Tulou with a neat pass the No.8 did the rest, breaking a couple of tackles on the way through into the hallowed ground, Pelissie added the extras, 14-7. Ugalde added a penalty then got himself on the scoreboard with his own try, converted his own try and Bayonne has sneaked a lead 14-17, with only a minute left in the first half Montpellier hit back straight away, Francois Trinh-Duc was held just short, the forwards pounded the line and ball came out to Wynand Olivier who threw a monster miss pass out to the Flying Fijian Jimmy Nagusa who got his second try in the corner, the conversion was just the wrong side of the posts The ref Mon Berdos blew for half time the score19-17 to the hosts, there was still plenty to do for Montpellier, as Bayonne were giving them lots of problems when they had the ball.
The second half started and it was not long before Montpellier increased their lead, Jimmy Nagusa served Mamuka Gorgodze and his power plus a little help from his friends took him over the line and his 7th try of the season. again Jonathon Pelissie added the extras 26-17 to the hosts. Ugalde added another penalty after an infringement by Gorgodze, but to counter that Pelissie knocked one over himself to keep a 9 pts advantage to Montpellier 29-20. The 63 min. Montpellier were awarded a scrum 5 mts. out, the Bayonne pack were starting to tire and 3 times the scrum had to be reset every time Montpellier and Alex Tulou with the ball at his feat were getting closer to the line , finally Mon. Berdos had had enough and he awarded the penalty try, good compensation for the home pack who were dominating their adversaries in all sectors of the forward play, again Pelissie added the extras and light began to show between the two teams 36-20 to the hosts plus that was the attacking bonus point secured for the moment.. The match was now all about Montpellier, Pierre Berard fly hacked a ball forward and finally got his hands on it, he jinxed right then left and got the ball to Jimmy Nagusa who went over for his hat trick and Montpellier were cruising, again the extras were added by Pelissie 43-20 to Montpellier. Francois Trinh-Duc was given a yellow card with minutes to go, Belie took the penalty quickly and served Fa’aosa who crashed over the line and Ulgade added the extra 2 pts, 43-27 to Montpellier, Bayonne did not have time to get the defensive bonus point but they could take the attacking one away from Montpellier and there were a couple of nervous last minutes with Rokocoko and O’Connar both escaping tackles and threatening the Montpellier defence, but the hosts held out and when the siren sounded Benoit Paillaugue smacked the ball out of play. Final score Montpellier 43 Bayonne 27.
A great game for the supporters 9 tries and good fast running rugby produced by both teams and they say today’s rugby is all about defence!!! The forwards were no less than magnificent and all contributed to an excellent bonus point win, Francois Trinh-Duc once again showed why he should be France’s No.10 keeping control of everything from flyhalf and Jimmy Nagusa got himself a very handy hat trick. Montpellier now find themselves on Top of the World, in No 1 position a point clear of Clermont and Toulon, never before has Montpellier been in this position so late on in the season, again this is why Fabien Galthie and Co, are one of the best trio of coaches in today’s pro rugby.
Next week there is a break for the H Cup so Montpellier will be training hard and getting ready for their next two games away to Grenoble then Castres, two very difficult matches, but a at least one has to be won if we are to have a barrage at home, or heaven help a first ever semi final direct.
Interview with The Flying Fijian Jimmy Nagusa :
Steve Whittell: Excellent result Jimmy plus a bonus point win.
Jim Nagusa: Yes the boys played very well especially upfront, they won plenty of ball and then we had lots to work with, and were able to score the tries, but they the forwards all had an excellent game to day.
Steve Whittell: Jimmy last Tuesday you were saying you were down on your try quota for the season!!!
Jim Nagusa: Yes I set myself a target of a minimum of 10 per season and only had 6 Top 14 tries so far this season, so that has increased my average today up to 9 and I am back on track but still need some more if we are going to carry on in the same vein as today.
Steve Whittell: Your first ever hat trick for Montpellier, how do you feel.
Jim Nagusa: You know whether I score or someone else it’s all about the team, we have a very close unit and everyone is trying to work for each other, of course it’s great to score but the most important is that we win and the bonus point is an extra, every point is vital at this stage of the season.
Steve Whittell: You are looking very lean and hungry Jimmy?
Jim Nagusa: I have shifted a few kilos and changed my diet , I am now eating very sensibly and looking after my body, at the moment I am about 100 kilos which is great for me and a good weight to work from. If I stay at this weight, I should be able to cause a few problems for the opposition.
Steve Whittell: Cheers Jimmy you make have to buy a few beers tonight to celebrate that Hat Trick? Go join the rest of the boys for the lap of honour!!
Jim Nagusa: Yes you could be right there, but they deserve it!!!
Resume & Interview by Steve Whittell.