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Five precious points with pride and passion

Le 05 mars 2019

Saturday early evening, the visiting team was Bordeaux-Bègles, and the weather perfect for rugby, not too hot and a little wind, but nothing to trouble the players.

The bigger factor was the fall from grace of Montpellier over the last few weeks, with ink being spilt by the press over this, that, and the other. Things needed to be changed and what better way than changing them, a convincing victory against Bordeaux. The game got under way and it was Montpellier who showed that the problems of previous weeks had been left in the changing rooms, as they came out all guns blazing, very aggressive and full of new found spirit, just maybe all the meetings and discussions had been worth the effort.

Nobody had long to wait for the first score, after multiple actions on the Bordeaux try line it was Bismark Du Plessis who forced himself over with a little help from the rest of the pack, up stepped Benoit Paillaugue to convert the extras, Montpellier’s newly appointed Captain in the absence of Louis Picamoles on International duty, a good start by the hosts and a confident 7-0 lead. Montpellier kept the pressure on the boys from the wine country, but they also made many simple mistakes, passes astray and knock-ons but they gave their heart and souls for this game, which was a wonderful turn around from the last couple of games. The scrum did suffer a little, but still it was good to watch, a team that seemed to be mounting their confidence level.

A couple of penalties were added by each team, and the final 10 minutes of the first half saw Montpellier pound the Bordeaux line but their defence held strong keeping the hosts at bay, but it was tiring for Bordeaux and this could well turn the advantages to Montpellier in the second half. Half time score Montpellier 10 Bordeaux 3. The second half started and whatever was said during the break worked, Montpellier came out even stronger than in the first half, after just 2mins. Montpellier made a break down the wing and  a great offload by Henri Immelman to Francois Steyn, he chipped ahead collected and dived over, La Paille missed the extras but 15-3 to the hosts. Next up was the young and electric Gaby Ngandebe, he mesmerised the opposition with his dancing feet found the gap and accelerated towards the line leaving everything in his wake, this time La Paille added the extras and the score was looking good 22-3 bonus point already in the pocket but could the hosts hold onto it.

Montpellier was showing what they did at home all last season, playing some excellent rugby which got the supporters behind them and urged them on for more. Bordeaux did get a score back, after a good attack Jalibert whipped a cross  kick into the in goal area for Buros to latch onto with little opposition, Jalibert added the extras and the score moved onto 22-10,  the young Jalibert was having a reasonable game after his very long lay off through injury.  La Paille added another penalty to move the score onto 25-10.

Next up was the mammoth Nemani Nadolo he made his own try in his own way, a great sight to see as this was his first game for a long time due to injury : La Paille missed the extras 30-10. Montpellier now had their heads high and with the bonus point regained they went seeking blood and finish off the visitors. The final try came minutes before the close with Henry Immelman diving over in the corner and after video the try was given, this time Benoit Paillaugue added the extras and that was the final score  : Montpellier 37-Bordeaux 10.

What a turn around for Montpellier, Pride and Passion restored for the moment, this massive fracture reported by the press nowhere to be seen, every player on the park gave his all and the South African boys rose to the occasion, of course helped by the rest. But this was a team effort where everyone played their part, now the boys have to continue with the very same efforts, Toulon then Pau away from home in the next couple of weeks, this will be a huge challenge but if they can keep the same mind set there is no reason why the points missing can be restored and try and get nearer to that TOP 6 qualification. A changing room was extremely quiet after the game but this was probably more relief than jubilance, this can be understood as the players and staff did have an enormous amount of pressure on their backs to get back to winning ways lets hope the corner is turned and they have much more to give for the remaining games of this season.

Steve Whittell.