NEWBIES HIT FOR SIX
Lundi 07 Octobre 2013
Newly promoted Oyonnax were the visitors for the 9th day of this season‘s TOP 14, at the moment they are receiving good press especially with their last minute victory against Toulon the previous week. Renowned for being very physical and playing attractive fast running rugby, they are still trying to prove that they are also good on the road, as they are in their home ground. A good crowd of 11,553 on a very pleasant evening were looking forward to some fast entertaining rugby; both teams have been complemented already this season on their sterling performances. Montpellier have at the moment not a massive team choice as they are still working around an infirmary that is bursting at the seams, the last 2 / 3 weeks has seen more or less the same starting XV, which is not brilliant as the guys are starting to be a little fatigued, but there was an unbeaten home record to keep intact and that is worth its weight in gold.
From the off Montpellier showed their force up front and after only several minutes they had a scrum 5 mts. out, they pushed the visitors off the ball and the ref did not mess, he awarded the penalty try in between the sticks, extras were added by Benoit Paillaugue, 7-0 to the good. Oyonnax quickly replied with a try of their own, that demon Tian showed up on the wing and did the hard yards to get over the line unopposed, which made it 7-7. The Little Big Man added another 3 pts after Oyonnax had infringed they were continually under huge pressure from Montpellier, everything looked as though Oyonnax they were going to have a difficult early evening. Every ball that Montpellier received they attacked relentlessly, Francois Trinh-Duc giving all his three quarters plenty of scope to challenge the Oyonnax try line, eventually Yoan Audrin managed to get over and after video evidence he was awarded the try and Paillaugue added the extras. The attacks did not cease and Thomas Combezou got himself on the score board with a try just before half time once again Paillaugue added the extras, the visitors received a yellow for continual scrum infringements and it was the prop Tichit who got 10 mins. in the bin, at the pause Montpellier 24 Oyonnax 13. but Oyonnax were going to suffer down to 14 players for the first 10 mins of the second half...
The second half started with a quick try from Thomas Combezou who crossed after a neat pass from Paillaugue, again he added the extras himself, that gave Montpellier the bonus point, but that was short lived as Oyonnax got themselves back on the score board with a try from Ursache, hopefully this was not going to be the nightmare of Brive!!! This time Montpellier took complete control, from a scrum Alex Tulou left the base and a pass of perfection gave Paillaugue a superb run in to score the 5pts, he again converted his own try, Montpellier 38- 20, it is not over till “The Fat Lady Sings”, this time Anthony Floch powered over after some neat handling from the backs, and of course Paillaugue added the extras, which gave him a match total of a very impressive 20 points, when the Paille is not playing Montpellier have Jonathan Pelissie, a very comfortable position to be in, having 2 of the best 9’s in the TOP 14. The ref finally blew for full time, the score Montpellier 45 Oyonnax 20, once again the hosts secured a home bonus point win, the 3rd of the season, but it was not all one way traffic, Oyonnax play a very physical and robust game, but with plenty of speed from the backs they are fighters and going on the season so far, deserve to be there next year, but the TOP 14 is the toughest and no presents are given, not even at Christmas so they will have to fight every point and every match if they want to survive. There are a lot of people out there who would like to see them survive!!! Today they were hit for 6 magnificent tries but that is all part of being a Newbie in the TOP 14 it happens. Montpellier gave another good all round performance, Nicolas Mas is beginning to shine up front and giving everyone hell, Robins Tchale-Watchou is getting better every game, The back row was good until Thibault Privat’s injury and Bias had to do a stint in the 2nd row, which threw the organisation, but Kelian Galletier for a young un is a great alternative to possess. The only real concerns were the injuries to Thibault Pivat and Alex Tulou both will have scans on Monday to see the full extent of the damage. The backs were on fire most of the game and all played their part in an excellent victory; Anthony Tuitavake is good playing centre or wing, which is a bonus when Mr Ranger eventually arrives, but my Man of the Match goes to “The Little Big Man”, Benoit Paillaugue, who varied his play, kicked all but one of his attempts and got himself a try to boot, a man of small statue but a heart as Big as a Barrel.
Interview with Wynand Olivier, Montpellier’s South African centre.
Steve Whittell: That was an up and down match but we came out worthy winners with the full 5 points, we can now move onto the H Cup.
Wynand Olivier: All in all the win was good, and with the bonus point that should give us a boost for the next match, but we had to fight for the full 80mins. to get the result we needed, another good team effort.
Steve Whittell: Oyonnax is a very tough team to play against?
Wynand Olivier: They are very physical and never give up trying, and a very tough team to get on top of, nothing was easy tonight, but we managed to get that all important bonus point, which was difficult enough, as we had it, then lost it, but we kept our heads did not panic and came good in the end..
Steve Whittell: Next week it’s H Cup which is a first for you?
Wynand Olivier: Definitely and I am looking forward to it never played in the H Cup before so very excited about the prospect of doing so, and an added bonus it’s in Italy which is also a first for me at club level.
Steve Whittell: Even at your old age (only joking) there is room for firsts.
Wynand Olivier: Can’t wait and hope to get the chance but that is not up to me that’s the boss’s job!!!!
Steve Whittell: Cheers Wyn go join the boys for that lap of honour!!
Interview & Resume by Steve Whittell.