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Le 28 octobre 2013
The Friday evening love affair with Canal + continues, Montpellier were the hosts of Bayonne this evening for the 10th day of this seasons TOP 14. Weather a little humid but good enough to play fast running rugby and a boisterous Bayonne crowd with the ground more or less at its full capacity.
Bayonne have had their own problems this week with various comments from the Media about players turning up a little the worse for wear, but that is a club problem and will be dealt with by them no doubt in the not too distant future, and in-house.
After Montpellier’s poor showing against Ulster last weekend in the H Cup they needed to show that was only a blip on the excellent start to the season.
Bayonne lying in the lowly 13th position needed points if they are to continue playing elite rugby next season, so simple was going to be the order of the day for them, primarily occupation and maybe feed of any mistakes that Montpellier could possibly make. Bayonne has always been known for their power upfront and no doubt they were going to rely on this tonight.
The game was a torrid affair with the ball being booted from end to the other and some tight forward play in addition, but first blood to Montpellier with a Benoit Paillaugue penalty. 
The first try went to Bayonne, a Bustos-Moyano penalty struck the upright and the Bayonne forwards collected the ball out it went  to Rokocoko who went over nearly unopposed, Bustos –Moyano added the extras.  Bayonne 7  Montpellier 3 
There was nobody at the reception of the rebounding ball off the posts, why do players position themselves on or behind the try line when the ball is always going to go out of play from a kick so close, and what’s more few if any turn their backs on the kicker and wait for the rebound if any, these are basic faults which should never happen at this level, the evidence for all to see, a converted try for the hosts!!! The very same Bustos Moyano added another penalty  10-3 to the hosts. 
Montpellier did hit back with a classy try from the young Enzo Selponi the ball came out of the ruck, Enzo saw two forwards in front of him and went left then cut inside with good acceleration leaving them grabbing at fresh air, Montpellier were back in the game The Little Big Man added the extras. 10-10.
Montpellier were doing an awful lot of defending and if they did get the ball if was kicked up field but with little precision normally straight into the arms of the well positioned Spedding who thumped the ball back with excellent results and Montpellier found themselves again defending. 
Another Bayonne try came after the visitors regained the ball from a high kick, a blind pass and the ball was intercepted by Bayonne, they threw it out wide finding Brett who threw a long ball to Bustos –Moyano, (yes him again) he scampered down the wing beating Yoan Artru for speed and strength, hit a little grubber kick and dived on the ball over the line for an opportunists try, he missed the conversion, but did add another penalty before half time, at the pause; 
Bayonne 18 Montpellier 13.
The second half saw Montpellier better organised and also better disciplined, not giving anywhere near as many penalties than in the first half, but they did have to do an incredible amount of defending, both kickers added 2 penalties apiece, Benoit Paillaugue hitting one from well in his own half and he was just short with another from 50mts but very difficult as it was from the touchline.
Benoit Sicard had an amazing run from his own 22, only to be held up in touch just mts. from the Bayonne line by Rokocoko, committing himself to the last ditch tackle which did save Bayonne’s bacon.
Montpellier were a little short of ideas, but whether they were satisfied with the bonus defensive point only they will know, defensively they were very sound, the 2 tries scored both had an element of luck but with hindsight Montpellier could have avoided both scores, sometimes the luck goes the way of the side desperate for points and Bayonne were desperate, so maybe even fate played its part.
The pack played well under pressure and the backs were limited with the small amount of ball they received, the main bone of contention is the continual mistakes which produce penalties, Bustos-Moyano hit 4 and missed two far too many, plus the number of times Bayonne relieved pressure from massive penalty kicks in their own half by Spedding when Montpellier were attacking going towards the opposition try line, before they finally infringed.
Not ideal but a point is a very important point; coming away from Bayonne with zilch would have done the cause no good at all.
Anthony Tuitavake did however make this weekend (which is supporting the referee and their very own “Day of the Ref” ) an excellent one for the man in the middle, he cleared out at a ruck with a little aggression only to be given a yellow with 2 mins. to play, needless and pointless, but Referees don’t need much to “Make Their Day,” but that’s another story.
Steve Whittell.