One game at a time !
The old sparing partner Castres was the opposition this weekend for Canal Plus’s Saturday evening Gala game. Over the past few seasons, these games have been well fought and not always the home side gaining victory.Montpellier still in command at the dizzy heights of this season’s Top 14, were again looking for a minimum 4 pts victory.
The first half started with Montpellier applying their forward domination the backs looked super sharp and Francois Steyn taking control from the 10 spot. Castres saw nothing of the ball and it looked as if it could be a very long evening for the boys from the Black mountains. The first scores were 2 penalties from the boot of Ruan Pienaar, minutes later Steyn advanced with the ball passed to Nadolo who then gave Nico Van Rensburg his chance,which he took and dived over, Pienaar added the extras 13-0 to the hosts. Francois Steyn added a drop goal from in front of the sticks, next it was the turn of Bismarck Du Plessis a classy one two with Benjamin Fall, the International hooker did the rest diving over the Castres try line the extras were missed but Montpellier were in total control 21-0. The score stayed just that until the ref blew for half time.
The second half commenced and it did not take long for Montpellier to increase their lead again it was Bismarck du Plessis after excellent work from the pack the extras were added by Pienaar and Castres were in big trouble 31-0. Castres got a try their sole of the evening and it was battle the scorer, with Urdapilleta adding the extras 31-7, but all the same a disastrous performance from the visitors Castres. Montpellier added 2 more tries through Sanga and Tomane both converted by Pienaar and this ended a real routing of a team looking for a top 6 finish to the Championship. This was one of the best performances from Montpellier along with the Racing game a couple of weeks ago. All the team played with vigour and class, their defence was outstanding, with Fulgence Ouedraogo leading from the front, but the half back pairing of Pienaar and Steyn were sublime. But all the players needed to be congratulated, and a massive pat on the back for the young Jimi Maximin who played all the second half after the injury to Van Rensburg this was only second appearance after his first last week which was only 10 minutes after he came off the bench. Montpellier now needed to win their 2 remaining home games and that should secure them a direct semi play off place, but there is still plenty of hard work to be done, so one match at a time and all will be revealed in the next few weeks.