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Defence wins games

Le 03 septembre 2018

That is of course that you still score more points than your opponents.

Saturday ko.18.00 and the opposition was La Rochelle, a team that are still trying to stamp their mark on the TOP 14, a very difficult team to manoeuvre and they have an immense pack with several French Internationals. So Montpellier had to be on their marks to prevent a second home defeat of this new season.This week at training Vern Cotter had the boys concentrating on their defence as it was by no means brilliant against Castres, with gaps and missed tackles abundant. The game started with a September sun burning down on the GGL stadium, and the wind breezing strongly against Montpellier in the first half.

The defence work of this week certainly was bearing its fruits as the tackles were good and the one line movements when defending were excellent with practically none missing their man. This began to frustrate La Rochelle and it paid its dividends, with the visitors receiving yellows in the 23 and 29 mins. thus having only 13 players on the park for 6mins. Johan Goosen had been given the 10 shirt for this match and he showed how skilful he is either fullback or no10. His play had various tones to it and he kept the visitors defence guessing for most of the match, plus one or two nice breaks taking the inside gaps that he created with his magic.

The first 30 mins saw 3 penalties for Montpellier all from the boot of Ruan Pienaar, who was also serving his South African No.10 well from the base of the scrum giving Goosen the time to see what was in front of him and adapt to the occasion. The first try of the game went to Montpellier, the young Yvan Reilhac latched onto a ball after an  excellent break by Benjy Fall and over he went, this youngster is showing more and more skills as the time goes by. The conversion hit the post and stayed out 14-0. The second try came mins. later, the hooter had already gone when again Yvan Reilhac broke through the defence to give Vincent Martin a gift try in the corner, the conversion was again missed and Montpellier went to the break with a 19-0 half time lead.

The second half began with La Rochelle changing their front row, and this immediately stabilized their scrum which was more than creaky in the first half, at the same time Montpellier had 15 mins. of dream time where they let La Rochelle back into the game, Sinzelle went over from close the try converted by Camou 19-7. Montpellier was quick to react and after excellent work from the forwards, Paul Willemse got his second try of the season, watch out Nemsie Nadolo, Paul is after your try scoring record. This time Ruan Pienaar landed the conversion, 26-10. Minutes later it was La Rochelle who again crossed the line a grubber kick from Sinzelle and Andreu was there to dive on the ball and score, again converted this time by Lamb, 26-14.

Francois Steyn added a penalty and minutes before the final whistle Romain Ruffenach caught a wayward 5mt line out throw from La Rochelle and dived over unopposed, Steyn added the extras. Final score Montpellier 36 La Rochelle 14.

No attacking bonus point for Montpellier but a determined effort all the same, this was a much improved Montpellier team from the previous week, yes there were moments where they were dominated but far and few, the majority of the game Montpellier controlled with an excellent defence, with several youngsters on the park or the bench. They can be congratulated as with all the injuries at this moment they have to step up to the mark and this they did with excellence.

Goosen showed his class with a very good performance at 10, the pack were excellent and gave the Rochelle scrum plenty of trouble especially in the first half, this game will hopefully give Montpellier the confidence they need to try and gain 4 pts next week at Bordeaux.

My Man of the Match, Yvan Reilhac.

 

Steve Whittell.