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Le 17 janvier 2011
Friday night saw Montpellier play their 5th round pool game in the Amlin Challenge Cup against Newcastle Falcons, top of the table but with Exeter Chiefs hard on their heels only a win would keep Montpellier at the top of pool 3.
With a long journey which took most of Thursday under their belts the Montpellier squad arrived in Newcastle at least to see all the snow had disappeared and the Friday evening temperature was reasonable, well reasonable for Newcastle in Janurary.
The average age of the Montpellier team was young, roughly 22yrs.old the Gentle Giant and the General (Bechu, Galthie) were giving members of the squad with very little playing time their chance to shine, but he did include a wealth of experience with Michel Macurdy and Seb Kuzbik onboard.
The game was a dour affair reminiscent of years gone by, no tries only 2 penalties by the ever present Benoit Paillaugue, who demonstrated why Montpellier must resign this young scrum half with bucket loads of ability. The Montpellier XV stayed on top most of the game keeping the ball in the forwards with the occasional darting forward by the three quarters, Seb Kuzbik although he has played very little this season proved to be a real menace on his wing, coming close several times, and only excellent defence kept him from scoring.
There were a couple of massive fisty cuffs, one with 29 players involved, maybe something to do with Jean D’Arc or another Anglo French disagreement and at the final whistle it all kicked off again maybe not enough energy was spent on the game, who knows but the job in hand was done and Montpellier came out 6-0 winners, an excellent effort by a team that has spent very little playing time together.
This coming Saturday, a certain, Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs, Montpellier on 17pts and top of pool 3, Exeter Chiefs 2nd with 15pts, all to play for with only one team qualifying for the 1/4 final playoffs, Bayonne can do Montpellier a massive favour (providing they beat Exeter) by beating Harlequins in their last game in Pool 1 which would mean that Montpellier would have a home ¼ final game, but that just maybe an ask too great for Bayonne to accomplish.
After the Perpignan game everyone could see the atmosphere in the Stade Yves du Manoir starting to mature, once again the team needs your support so let’s see you all there Saturday evening for this pool game final, which hopefully will see Montpellier go onto the 1/4 finals.